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S. G. & E. L. ELBERT 



W$&$$fk Sm MiLA SMIT H EL BMT '88 









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Northern District 
of New York. 





The following little story was written by Mrs. Sarah H. 
Bradford, of Geneva, with the single object of furnishing 
some help to the subject of the memoir. Harriet Tubman's 
services and sufferings during the rebellion, which are 
acknowledged in the letters of Gen. Saxton, and others, it 
was thought by many, would justify the bestowment of a 
pension by the Government. But the difficulties in the 
way of procuring such relief, suggested other methods, and 
finally the present one.. The narrative was prepared on 
the eve of the author's departure for Europe, where she 
still remains. It makes no claim whatever to literary 
merit. Her hope was merely that the considerably numer- 
ous public already in part acquainted with Harriet's story, 
would furnish purchasers enough to secure a little fund for 
the relief of this remarkable woman. Outside that circle 
she did not suppose the memoir was likely to meet with 
much if any sale. 

In furtherance of the same benevolent scheme, and in or- 
der to secure the whole avails of the work for Harriet's 
benefit, a subscription has been raised more than sufficient 
to defray the entire cost of publication. This has been 
effected by the generous exertions of Wm. G. Wise, Esq., 
of this city. The whole amount was contributed by citi- 


zens of Auburn, with the exception of two liberal subscrip- 
tions by Gerrit Smith, Esq., and Mr. Wendell Phillips. 

Mr. Wise has also consented, at Mrs. Bradford's request, 
to act as trustee for Harriet ; and will receive, invest, and 
apply, for her benefit, whatever may accrue from the sale 
of this book. 

The spirited wood-cut likeness of Harriet, in her costume 
as scout, was furnished by the kindness of Mr. J. C. Darby, 
of this city. S. M. H. 

Auburn, Dec. 1, 1868. 


It is proposed in this little book to give a plain 
and unvarnished account of some scenes and adven- 
tures in the life of a woman who, though one of 
earth's lowly ones, and of dark-hued skin, has 
shown an amount of heroism in her character rarely- 
possessed by those of any station in life. Her name 
(we say it advisedly and without exaggeration) 
deserves to be handed down to posterity side by 
side with the names of Joan of Arc, Grace Darling, 
and Florence Nightingale ; for not one of these 
women has shown more courage and power of en- 
durance in facing danger and death to relieve hu- 
man suffering, than has this woman in her heroic 
and successful endeavors to reach and save all whom 
she might of her oppressed and suffering race, and 
to pilot them from the land of Bondage to the 
promised land of Liberty. Well has she been call- 
ed " Moses" for she has been a leader and deliverer 
unto hundreds of her people. 


Worn down by her sufferings and fatigues, her 
health permanently affected by the cruelties to 
which she has been subjected, she is still laboring 
to the utmost limit of her strength for the support 
of her aged parents, and still also for her afflicted 
people — by her own efforts supporting two schools 
for Freedmen at the South, and supplying them 
with clothes and books ; never obtruding herself, 
never asking for charity, except for " her people." 

It is for the purpose of aiding her in ministering 
to the wants of her aged parents, and in the hope 
of securing to them the little home which they are 
in danger of losing from inability to pay the whole 
amount due — which amount was partly paid when 
our heroine left them to throw herself into the work 
of aiding our suffering soldiers — that this little ac- 
count, drawn from her by persevering endeavor, is 
given to the friends of humanity. 

The writer of this story has till very lately known 
less personally of the subject of it, than many others 
to whom she has for years been an object of inter- 
est and care. But through relations and friends in 
Auburn, and also through Mrs, Commodore Swift 
of Geneva, and her sisters, who have for many years 
known and esteemed this wonderful woman, she 
has heard tales of her deeds of heroism which 


seemed almost too strange for belief, and were in- 
vested with the charm of romance. 

During a sojourn of some months in the city of 
Auburn, while the war was in progress, the writer 
used to see occasionally in her Sunday-school class 
the aged mother of Harriet, and also some of those 
girls who had been brought from the South by this 
remarkable woman. She also wrote letters for the 
old people to commanding officers at the South, mak- 
ing inquiries about Harriet, and received answers 
telling of her untiring devotion to our wounded and 
sick soldiers, and of her efficient aid in various ways 
to the cause of the Union. 

By the graphic pen of Mrs. Stowe, the incidents 
of such a life as that of the subject of this little 
memoir might be wrought up into a tale of thrilling 
interest, equaling, if not exceeding, anything in her 
world-renowned " Uncle Tom's Cabin ; " but the 
story of Harriet Tubman needs not the drapery of 
fiction ; the bare unadorned facts are enough to stir 
the hearts of the friends of humanity, the friends of 
liberty, the lovers of their country. 

There are those who will sneer, there are those 
who have already done so, at this quixotic attempt 
to make a heroine of a black woman, and a slave ; 
but it may possibly be that there are some natures, 


though concealed under fairer skins, who have not 
the capacity to comprehend such general and self- 
sacrificing devotion to the cause of others as that 
here delineated, and therefore they resort to scorn 
and ridicule, in order to throw discredit upon the 
whole story. 

Much has been left out which would have been 
highly interesting, because of the impossibility of 
substantiating by the testimony of others the truth 
of Harriet's statements. But whenever it has been 
possible to find those who were cognizant with the 
facts stated, they have been corroborated in every 

A few years hence and we seem to see a gather- 
ing where the wrongs of earth will be righted, and 
Justice, long delayed, will assert itself, and perform 
its office. Then not a few of those who had 
esteemed themselves the wise and noble of this 
world, " will begin with shame to take the lowest 
place ; " while upon Harriet's dark head a kind hand 
will be placed, and in her ear a gentle voice will 
sound, saying : " Friend ! come up higher ! " 

S. H. B. 

The following letters to the writer from those 
well-known and distinguished philanthropists, Hon. 


Gerrit Smith and Wendell Phillips, and one from 
Frederick Douglass, addressed to Harriet, will serve 
as the best introduction that can be given of the 
subject of this memoir to its readers : 

Letter from Hon, Gerrit Smith. 

Peterboro, June 13, 1868. 
My Dear Madame : I am happy to learn that 
you are to speak to the public of Mrs. Harriet 
Tubman. Of the remarkable events of her life I 
have no personal knowledge, but of the truth of 
them as she describes them I have no doubt. 

I have often listened to her, in her visits to my 
family, and I am confident that she is not only 
truthful, but that she has a rare discernment, and a 
deep and sublime philanthropy. 

With great respect your friend, 

Gerrit Smith. 

Letter from Wendell Phillips. 

June 16, 1868. 
Dear Madame : The last time I ever saw John 
Brown was under my own roof, as he brought 
Harriet Tubman to me, saying : " Mr. Phillips, I 
bring you one of the best and bravest persons on 
this continent — General Tubman, as we call her." 


He then went on to recount her labors and sacri- 
fices in behalf of her race. After that, Harriet spent 
some time in Boston, earning the confidence and 
admiration of all those who were working for free- 
dom. With their aid she went to the South more 
than once, returning always with a squad of self- 
emancipated men, women, and children, for whom 
her marvelous skill had opened the way of escape. 
After the war broke out, she was sent with indorse- 
ments from Governor Andrew and his friends to 
South Carolina, where in the service of the Nation 
she rendered most important and efficient aid to 
our army. 

In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps 
few colonels, who have done more for the loyal 
cause since the war began, and few men who did 
before that time more for the colored race, than our 
fearless and most sagacious friend, Harriet. 
Faithfully yours, 

Wendell Phillips. 

Letter from Frederick Douglass. 

Rochester, August 29, 1868. 
Dear Harriet : I am glad to know that the 
story of your eventful life has been written by a 


kind lady, and that the same is soon to be published. 
You ask for what you do not need when you call 
upon me for a word of commendation. I need such 
words from you far more than you can need them 
from me, especially where your superior labors and 
devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our 
land are known as I know them. The difference 
between us is very marked. Most that I have 
done and suffered in the service of our cause has 
been in public, and I have received much encour- 
agement at every step of the way. „ You on the 
other hand have labored in a private way. I have 
wrought in the day — you in the night. I have had 
the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that 
conies of being approved by the multitude, while 
the most that you have done has been witnessed 
by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen 
and women, whom you have led out of the house 
of bondage, and whose heartfelt " God bless you " 
has been your only reward. The' midnight sky and 
the silent stars have been the witnesses of your de- 
votion to freedom and of your heroism. Excepting 
John Brown — of sacred memory — I know of no one 
who has willingly encountered more perils and 
hardships to serve our enslaved people than you 
have. Much that vou have done would seem im- 


probable to those who do not know you as I know 
you. It is to me a great pleasure and a great privi- 
lege to bear testimony to your character and your 
works, and to say to those to whom you may come, 
that I regard you in every way truthful and trust- 
worthy. Your friend, 

Frederick Douglass. 




Harriet Tubman, known at various times, and 
in various places, by many different names, such as 
" Moses," in allusion to her being the leader and 
guide to so many of her people in their exodus from 
the Land of Bondage ; " the Conductor of the Under- 
ground Railroad ; " and " Moll Pitcher," for the en- 
ergy and daring by which she delivered a fugitive 
slave who was about to be dragged back to the 
South ; was for the first twenty-five years of her 
life a slave on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her 
own master she represents as never unnecessarily 
cruel ; but as was common among slaveholders, he 
often hired out his slaves to others, some of whom 
proved to be tyrannical and brutal to the utmost 
limit of their power. 

She had worked only as a field-hand for many 
years, following the oxen, loading and unloading 
wood, and carrying heavy burdens, by which her 


naturally remarkable power of muscle was so devel- 
oped that her feats of strength often called forth 
the wonder of strong laboring men. Thus was she 
preparing for the life of hardship and endurance 
which lay before her, for the deeds of daring she 
was to do, and of which her ignorant and darkened 
mind at that time never dreamed. 

The first person by whom she was hired was a 
woman who, thQugh married and the mother of a 
family, was still " Miss Susan " to her slaves, as is 
customary at the South. This woman was possess- 
ed of the good things of this life, and provided lib- 
erally for her slaves — so far as food and clothing 
went. But she had been brought up to believe, 
and to act upon the belief, that a slave could be 
taught to do nothing, and would do nothing but 
under the sting of the whip. Harriet, then a young 
girl, was taken from her life in the field, and having 
never seen the inside of a house better than a cabin 
in the negro quarters, was put to house-work with- 
out being told how to do anything. The first thing 
was to put a parlor in order. " Move these chairs 
and tables into the middle of the room, sweep the 
carpet clean, then dust everything, and put them 
back in their places ! " These were the directions 
given, and Harriet was left alone to do her work. 


The whip was in sight on the mantel-piece, as a 
reminder of what was to be expected if the work 
was not done well. Harriet fixed the furniture as 
she was told to do, and swept with all her strength, 
raisinor a tremendous dust. The moment she had 
finished sweeping, she took her dusting cloth, and 
wiped everything " so you could see your face in 
'em, de shone so," in haste to go and set the table 
for breakfast, and do her other work. The dust 
which she had set flying, only settled down again 
on chairs, tables, and the piano. " Miss Susan " 
came in and looked around. Then came the call 
for " Minty " — Harriet's name was Araminta at 
the South. 

She drew her up to the table, saying, " What do 
you mean by doing my work this way, you — ! " 
and passing her finger on the table and piano, she 
showed her the mark it made through the dust. 
"Miss Susan, I done sweep and dust jus' as youtole 
me." But the whip was already taken down, and 
the strokes were falling on head and face and neck. 
Four times this scene was repeated before break- 
fast, when, during the fifth whipping, the door 
opened, and " Miss Emily " came in. She was a 
married sister of " Miss Susan," and was making 
her a visit, and though brought up with the same 


associations as her sister, seems to have been a per- 
son of more gentle and reasonable nature. Not 
being able to endure the screams of the child any 
longer, she came in, took her sister by the arm, and 
said, "If you do not stop whipping that child, I 
will leave your house, and never come back ! " Miss 
Susan declared that " she would not mind, and she 
slighted her work on purpose." Miss Emily said, 
" Leave her to me a few moments ; " and Miss Susan 
left the room, indignant. As soon as they were 
alone, Miss Emily said : " Now, Minty, show me 
how you do your work." For the sixth time Har- 
riet removed all the furniture into the middle of 
the room ; then she swept ; and the moment she 
had done sweeping, she took the dusting cloth to 
wipe off the furniture. " Now stop there," said 
Miss Emily ; " go away now, and do some of your 
other work, and when it is time to dust, I will call 
you." When the time came she called her, and ex- 
plained to her how the dust had now settled, and 
that if she wiped it off now, the furniture would 
remain bright and clean. These few words an hour 
or two before, would have saved Harriet her whip- 
pings for that day, as they probably did for many 
a day after. 

While with this woman, after working from early 


morning till late at night, she was obliged to sit up 
all night to rock a cross, sick child. Her mistress 
laid upon her bed with a whip under her pillow, 
and slept ; but if the tired nurse forgot herself for 
a moment, if her weary head dropped, and 'her hand 
ceased to rock the cradle, the child would cry out, 
and then down would come the whip upon the neck 
and face of the poor weary creature. The scars are 
still plainly visible where the whip cut into the 
flesh. Perhaps her mistress was preparing her, 
though she did not know it then, by this enforced 
habit of wakefulness, for the many long nights of 
travel, when she was the leader and guide of the 
weary and hunted ones who were escaping from 

" Miss Susan " got tired of Harriet, as Harriet 
was determined she should do, and so abandoned 
her intention of buying her, and sent her back to 
her master. She was next hired out to the man 
who inflicted upon her the life-long injury from 
which she is suffering now, by breaking her skull 
with a weight from the scales. The injury thus 
inflicted causes her often to fall into a state of 
somnolency from which it is almost impossible to 
rouse her. Disabled and sick, her flesh all wasted 
away, she was returned to her owner. He tried to 


sell her, but no one would buy her. " Dey said dey 
wouldn't give a sixpence for me," she said. 

" And so," she said, " from Christmas till March 
I worked as I could, and I prayed through all the 
long nights — I groaned and prayed for ole master : 
' Oh Lord, convert master ! ' ' Oh Lord, change 
dat man's heart!' 'Pears like I prayed all de 
time," said Harriet ; " 'bout my work, everywhere, 
I prayed an' I groaned to de Lord. When I went 
to de horse-trough to wash my face, I took up de 
water in my han' an' I said, ' Oh Lord, wash me, 
make me clean ! ' Den I take up something to 
wipe my face, an' I say, c Oh Lord, wipe away 
all my sin ! ' When I took de broom and began 
to sweep, I groaned, ' Oh Lord, wha'soebber sin 
dere be in my heart, sweep it out, Lord, clar an' 
clean !' " No words can describe the pathos of her 
tones, as she broke out into these words of prayer, 
after the manner of her people. " An' so," said 
she, " I prayed all night long for master, till the 
first of March ; an' all the time he was bringing 
people to look at me, an' trying to sell me. Den 
we heard dat some of us was gwine to be sole to go 
wid de chain-gang down to de cotton an' rice fields, 
and dey said I was gwine, an' my b rudders, an' sis- 
ters. Den I changed my prayer. Fust of March 


I began to pray, ' Oh Lord, if you ant nebber 
gwine to change dat man's heart, kill him, Lord, 
an' take him out ob de way.' 

" Nex' ting I heard old master was dead, an' he 
died jus' as he libed. Oh, then, it 'peared like I'd 
give all de world full ob go]d, if I had it, to bring 
dat poor soul back. But I couldn't pray for him 
no longer." 

The slaves were told that their master's will pro- 
vided that none of them should, be sold out of the 
State. This satisfied most of them, and they were 
very happy. But Harriet was not satisfied ; she 
never closed her eyes that she did not imagine she 
saw the horsemen coming, and heard the screams 
of women and children, as they were being dragged 
away to a far worse slavery than that they were 
enduring; there. Harriet was married at this time 
to a free negro, who not only did not trouble him- 
self about her fears, but did his best to betray her, 
and bring her back after she escaped. She would 
start up at night with the cry, " Oh, dey're comin', 
dey're comin', I mus' go ! " 

Her husband called her a fool, and said she was 
like old Cudjo, who when a joke went round, never 
laughed till half an hour after everybody else got 
through, and so just as all danger was past she be- 


gan to be frightened. But still Harriet in fancy 
saw the horsemen coming, and heard the screams 
of terrified women and children. " And all that 
time, in my dreams and visions," she said, " I 
seemed to see a line, and on the other side of that 
line were green fields, and lovely flowers, and 
beautiful white ladies, who stretched out their arms 
to me over the line, but I couldn't reach them no- 
how. I always fell before I got to the line." 

One Saturday it was whispered in the quarters 
that two of Harriet's sisters had been sent off with 
the chain-^ang. That morning; she started, having 

© © . © " © 

persuaded three of her brothers to accompany her, 
but they had not gone far when the brothers, ap- 
palled by the dangers before and behind them, 
determined to go back, and in spite of her re- 
monstrances dragged her with them. In fear and 
terror, she remained over Sunday, and on Monday 
night a negro from another part of the plantation 
came privately to tell Harriet that herself and 
brothers were to be carried off that night. The 
poor old mother, who belonged to the same mis- 
tress, was just going to milk. Harriet wanted to 
get away without letting her know, because she 
knew that she would raise an uproar and prevent 
her going, or insist upon going with her, and the 


time for this was not yet. But she must give some 
intimation to those she was going to leave of her 
intention, and send such a farewell as she might to 
the friends and relations on the plantation. These 
communications were generally made by singing. 
They sang as they walked along the country roads, 
and the chorus w^as taken up by others, and the 
uninitiated knew not the hidden meaning of the 
words — 

When dat ar ole chariot comes, 

I'm gwine to lebe you ; 
I'm boun' for de promised land, 

I'm gwine to letye you. 

These words meant something more than a jour- 
ney to the Heavenly Canaan. Harriet said, " Here, 
mother, go 'long ; I'll do the milkin' to-night and 
bring it in." The old woman went to her cabin. 
Harriet took down her sun-bonnet, and went on 
to the " big house," where some of her relatives 
lived as house servants. She thought she could 
trust Mary, but there were others in the kitchen, 
and she could say nothing. Mary began to frolic 
with her. She threw her across the kitchen, and 
ran out, knowing that Mary would follow her. 
But just as they turned the corner of the house, the 
master to whom Harriet was now hired, came rid- 
ing up on his horse. Maty darted back, and Har- 


riet thought there was no way now but to sing. 
But " the Doctor," as the master was called, was 
regarded with special awe by his slaves ; if they 
were singing or talking together in the field, or on 
the road, and " the Doctor " appeared, all was hush- 
ed till he passed. But Harriet had no time for 
ceremony ; her friends must have a warning ; and 
whether the Doctor thought her " im,perent" or 
not, she must sing him farewell. So on she went to 
meet him, singing : 

I'm sorry I'm gwine to lebe you, 

Farewell, oh farewell ; 
But I'll meet you In the mornin', 

Farewell, oh farewell. 

The Doctor passed, and she bowed as she went 
on, still singing : 

I'll meet you in the mornin', 

I'm boun' for de promised land, 
On the oder side of Jordan, 

Boun' for de promised land. 

She reached the gate and looked round; the 
Doctor had stopped his horse, and had turned 
around in the saddle, and was looking at her as if 
there might be more in this than " met the ear." 
Harriet closed the gate, went on a little way, came 
back, the Doctor still gazing at her. She lifted up 
the gate as if she had not latched it properly, 
waved her hand to him, and burst out again : 


Til meet you in the mornin', 

Safe in de promised land, 
On the oder side of Jordan, 

Bonn' for de promised land. 

And she started on her journey, " not knowing 
whither she went," except that she was going to 
follow the north star, till it led her to liberty. 
Cautiously and by night she traveled, cunningly 
feeling her way, and finding out who were friends ; 
till after a long and painful journey she found, in 
answer to careful inquiries, that she had at last 
crossed that magic "line" which then separated 
the land of bondage from the land of freedom ; for 
this was before we were commanded by law to 
take part in the iniquity of slavery, and aid in 
taking and sending back those poor hunted fugi- 
tives who had manhood and intelligence enough 
to enable them to make their way thus far towards 

" When I found I had crossed dat line" she 
said, " I looked at my hands to see if I was de 
same pusson. There was such a glory ober ebery 
ting ; de sun came like gold through the trees, and 
ober the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaben." 

But then came the bitter drop in the cup of joy. 
She said she felt like a man who was put in State 
Prison for twenty-five years. All these twenty- 


five years he was thinking of his home, and long- 
ing for the time when he would see it again. At 
last the day comes — he leaves the prison gates — he 
makes his way to his old home, but his old home 
is not there. The house has been pulled down, 
and a new one has been put up in its place ; his 
family and friends are gone nobody knows where ; 
there is no one to take him by the hand, no one to 
welcome him. 

" So it was with me," she said. " I had crossed 
the line. I w&sfree; but there was no one to wel- 
come me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger 
in a strange land ; and my home, after all, was down 
in Maryland ; because my father, my mother, my 
brothers, and sisters, and friends were there. But 
I was free, and they should be free. I would 
make a home in the North and bring them there, 
God helping me. Oh, how I prayed then," she 
said ; " I said to de Lord, c I'm gwine to hole stiddy 
on to you, an' I know you'll see me through.' " 

She came to Philadelphia, and worked in hotels, 
in club houses, and afterwards at Cape May. 
Whenever she had raised money enough to pay 
expenses, she would make her way back, hide her- 
self, and in various ways give notice to those who 
were ready to strike for freedom. When her 


party was made up, they would start always on 
Saturday night, because advertisements could not 
be sent out on Sunday, which gave them one day 
in advance. 

Then the pursuers would start after them. 
Advertisements would be posted everywhere. 
There was one reward of $12,000 offered for the 
head of the woman who was constantly appearing 
and enticing away parties of slaves from their 
master. She had traveled in the cars when these 
posters were put up over her head, and she heard 
them read by those about her — for she could not 
read herself. Fearlessly she went on, trusting in 
the Lord. She said, " I started with this idea in 
my head, i Dere's two things I've got a right to, 
and dese are, Death or Liberty — one or tother I 
mean to have. No one will take me back alive ; I 
shall fight for my liberty, and when de time has 
come for me to go, de Lord will let dem kill me." 
And acting upon this simple creed, and firm in this 
trusting faith, she went back and forth nineteen 
times, according to the reckoning of her friends. 
She remembers that she went eleven times from 
Canada, but of the other journeys she kept no reck- 

While Harriet was working as cook in one of 


the large hotels in Philadelphia, the play of " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin " was being performed for many weeks 
every night. Some of her fellow-servants wanted 
her to go and see it. "No," said Harriet, "I haint 
got no heart to go and see the sufferings of my peo- 
ple played on de stage. I've heard ' Uncle Tom's 
Cabin ' read, and I tell you Mrs Stowe's pen hasn't 
begun to paint what slavery is as I have seen it at 
the far South. I've seen de real ting, and I don't 
want to see it on no stage or in no teater." 

I will give here an article from a paper published 
nearly a year ago, which mentions that the price 
set upon the head of Harriet was much higher than 
I have stated it to be. When asked about this, 
Harriet said she did not know whether it was so, 
but she heard them read from one paper that the 

reward offered was $12,000. 

" Among American women," says the article re- 
ferred to, " who has shown a courage and self-devo- 
tion to the welfare of others, equal to Harriet 
Tubman ? Hear her story of going down again 
and again into the very jaws of slavery, to rescue 
her suffering people, bringing them off through 
perils and dangers enough to appall the stoutest 
heart, till she was known among them as ' Moses.' 

"Forty thousand dollars was not too great a 


reward for the Maryland slaveholders to offer for 

" Think of her brave spirit, as strong as Daniel's 
of old, in its fearless purpose to serve God, even 
though the fiery furnace should Tbe her portion. I 
have looked into her dark face, and wondered and 
admired as I listened to the thrilling deeds her lion 
heart had prompted her to dare. 'I have heard 
their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I 
would give every drop of blood in my veins to free 
them,' she said. 

" The other day, at Gerrit Smith's, I saw this he- 
roic woman, whom the pen of genius will yet make 
famous, as one of the noblest Christian hearts ever 
inspired to lift the burdens of the wronged and op- 
pressed, and what do you think she said to me ? She 
had been tending and caring for our Union black 
(and white) soldiers in hospital during the war, 
and at the end of her labors was on her way home, 
coming in a car through New Jersey. A white man, 
the conductor, thrust her out of the car with such 
violence that she has not been able to work scarcely 
any since ; and as she told me of the pain she had 
and still suffered, she said she did not know what 
she should have done for herself, and the old father 
and mother she takes care of, if Mr. Wendell 


Phillips had not sent her $60, that kept them warm 
through the winter. She had a letter from W. H. 
Seward to Maj.-Gen. Hunter, in which he says, c I 
have known her long, and a nobler, higher spirit, 
or truer, seldom dwells in the human form.' " 

It will be impossible to give any connected ac- 
count of the different journeys taken by Harriet for 
the rescue of her people, as she herself has no idea 
of the dates connected with them, or of the order 
in which they were made. She thinks she was 
about 25 when she made her own escape, and this 
was in the last year of James K. Polk's administra- 
tion. From that time till the beginning of the war, 
her years were spent in these journeyings back and 
forth, with, intervals between, in which she worked 
only to spend the avails of her labor in providing 
for the wants of her next party of fugitives. By 
night she traveled, many times on foot, over moun- 
tains, through forests, across rivers, mid perils by 
land, perils by water, perils from enemies, " perils 
among; false brethren." Sometimes members of 
her party would become exhausted, foot-sore, and 
bleeding, and declare they could not go on, they 
must stay where they dropped down, and die; 
others would think a voluntary return to slavery 
better than being .overtaken and carried back, and 


would insist upon returning ; then there was no 
remedy but force; the revolver carried by this bold 
and daring pioneer would be pointed at their 
heads. " Dead niggers tell no tales," said Harriet ; 
" Go on or die ; " and so she compelled them to 
drag their weary limbs on their northward journey. 

At one time she collected and sent on a gang of 
thirty-nine fugitives in the care of others, as from 
some cause she was prevented from accompanying 
them. Sometimes, when she and her party were 
concealed in the woods, they saw their pursuers 
pass, on their horses, down the high road, tacking 
up the advertisements for them on the fences and 

" And den how Ave laughed," said she. " We 
was de fools, and dey was de wise men ; but we 
wasn't fools enough to go down de high road in de 
broad daylight." At one time she left her party in 
the woods, and went by a lon^ and roundabout 
way to one of the " stations of the Underground 
Railway," as she called them. Here she procured 
food for her famished party, often paying out of her 
hardly-gained earnings, five dollars a day for food 
for them. But she dared not go back to them till 
night, for fear of being watched, and thus reveal- 
ing their hiding-place. After nightfall, the sound 


of a hymn sung at a distance comes upon the ears 
of the concealed and famished fugitives in the 
woods, and they know that their deliverer is at 
hand. They listen eagerly for the words she sings, 
for by them they are to be warned of danger, or 
informed of safety. Nearer and nearer comes the 
unseen singer, and the words are wafted to their 

Hail, oh hail ye happy spirits, 

Death no more shall make you fear, 
No grief nor sorrow, pain nor anger (anguish) 

Shall no more distress you there. 

Around him are ten thousan 1 angels, 

Always ready to 'bey comman'. 
Dey are always hobring round you, 

Till you reach the hebbenly Ian'. 

Jesus, Jesus will go wid you ; 

He will lead you to his throne ; 
He who died has gone before you, 

Trod de wine-press all alone. 

He whose thunders shake creation ; 

He who bids the planets roll ; 
He who rides upon the temple, (tempest) 

An' his scepter sways de whole. 

Dark and thorny is de desert, 

Through de pilgrim makes his ways, 
Yet beyon 1 dis vale of sorrow, 

Lies de fieFs of endless days. 

I give these words exactly as Harriet sang them 
to me to a sweet and simple Methodist air. " De 
first time I go by singing dis hymn, dey don't come 
out to me," she said, " till I listen if de coast is 


clar ; den when I go back and sing it again, dey 
come out. But if I sing : 

Moses go down in Egypt, 

Till ole Pharo 1 let me go ; 
Hadn't been for Adam's fall, 

Shouldn't hab to died at all, 

den dey don't come out, for dere's danger in de 

And so by night travel, by hiding, by signals, 
by threatening, she brought the people safely to 
the land of liberty. But after the passage of the 
Fugitive Slave law, she said, " I wouldn't trust Un- 
cle Sam wid my people no longer ; I brought 'em 
all clar off to Canada." 

Of the very many interesting stories told me by 
Harriet, I cannot refrain from telling to my read- 
ers that of Joe, who accompanied her upon her sev- 
enth or eighth journey from Maryland to Canada. 

Joe was a noble specimen of a negro, and was 
hired out by his master to a man for whom he work- 
ed faithfully for six years, saving him the expense of 
an overseer, and taking all trouble off his hands. At 
length this man found him so absolutely necessary 
to him, that he determined to buy him at any cost. 
His master held him proportionably high. How- 
ever, by paying a thousand dollars down for him, 
and promising to pay another thousand in a cer- 


tain time, Joe passed into the hands of his new 

As may be imagined, Joe was somewhat surprised 
when the first order issued from his master's lips, 
was, " Now, Joe, strip and take a whipping ! " 
Joe's experience of whippings, as he had seen them 
inflicted upon others, w^as not such as to cause him 
particularly to desire to go through the same ope- 
ration on his own account ; and he, naturally 
enough, demurred, and at first thought of resisting. 
But he called to mind a scene which he had wit- 
nessed a few days before, in the field, the particu- 
lars of which are too horrible and too harassing 
to the feelings to be given to my readers, and he 
thought it best to submit ; but first he tried remon- 

" Mas'r," said he, " habn't I always been faith- 
ful to you? Habn't I worked through sun an' 
rain, early in de mornin 5 , and late at night ; habn't 
I saved you an oberseer by doin' his work ; hab 
you anyting to complain of agin me ? " 

" ISTo, Joe ; " I've no complaint to make of you ; 
you're a good nigger, and you've always worked 
well ; but the first lesson my niggers have to learn 
is that I am master, and that they are not to resist 
or refuse to obey anything I tell 'em to do. So 


the first thing they've got to do, is to be whipped ; 
if they resist, they get it all the harder ; and so 
I'll go on, till I kill 'em, but they've got to give up 
at last, and learn that I'm master." 

Joe thought it best to submit. He stripped off 
his upper clothing, and took his whipping without 
a word; but as he drew his clothes up over his 
torn and bleeding back, he said, " Dis is de last ! " 
That night he took a boat and went a long dis- 
tance to the cabin of Harriet's father, and said, 
" Next time Moses comes, let me know." It was 
only a week or two after that, that the mysterious 
woman whom no one could lay their finger on ap- 
peared, and men, women, and children began to 
disappear from the plantations. One fine morning 
Joe was missing, and his brother William, from 
another plantation ; Peter and Eliza, too, were gone ; 
and these made part of Harriet's next party, who 
began their pilgrimage from Maryland to Canada, 
or as they expressed it, from " Egypt to de land of 

Their adventures were enough to fill a volume ; 
they were pursued ; they were hidden in " potato 
holes," while their pursuers passed within a few 
feet of them ; they were passed along by friends in 
various disguises ; they scattered and separated, to 


be led by guides by a roundabout way, to a meet- 
ing-place again. They were taken in by Sam 
Green, the man who was afterwards sent to State 
Prison for ten years for having a copy of " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin " in his house ; and so, hunted and 
hiding and wandering, they came at last to the 
long bridge at the entrance of the city of Wil- 
mington, Delaware. The rewards posted up 
everywhere had been at first five hundred dollars for 
Joe, if taken within the limits of the United States ; 
then a thousand, and then fifteen hundred dollars, 
" an' all expenses clar an' clean, for his body in 
Easton Jail." Eight hundred for William, and four 
hundred for Peter, and twelve thousand for the 
woman who enticed them away. The long Wil- 
mington Bridge was guarded by police officers, 
and the advertisements were everywhere. The 
party were scattered, and taken to the houses 
of different colored friends, and word was sent 
secretly to Thomas Garrett, of Wilmington, of 
their condition, and the necessity of their being 
taken across the bridge. Thomas Garrett is a Qua- 
ker, and a man of a wonderfully large and generous 
heart, through whose hands, Harriet tells me, two 
thousand self-emancipated slaves passed on their 
way to freedom. He was always ready, heart and 


hand and means, in aiding these poor fugitives, 
and rendered most efficient help to Harriet on 
many of her journeys back and forth. A letter 
received a few days since by the writer, from 
this noble-hearted philanthropist, will be given 

As soon as Thomas Garrett heard of the condi- 
tion of these poor people, his plan was formed. 
He engaged two wagons, filled them with brick- 
layers, whom of course he paid well for their share 
in the enterprise, and sent them across the bridge. 
They went as if on a frolic, singing and shouting. 
The guards saw them pass, and of course expected 
them to re-cross the bridge. After nightfall (and 
fortunately it was a dark night) the same wagons 
went back, but with an addition to their party. 
The fugitives were on the bottom of the wagons, 
the bricklayers on the seats, still singing and 
shouting ; and so they passed by the guards, who 
were entirely unsuspicious of the nature of the 
load the wagons contained, or of the amount of 
property thus escaping their hands. And so they 
made their way to ISTew York. When they entered 
the anti-slavery office there, Joe was recognized at 
once by the description in the advertisement. 
" Well," said Mr. Oliver Johnson, " I am glad to 


see the man whose head is worth fifteen hundred 
dollars." At this Joe's heart sank. If the adver- 
tisement had got to New York, that place which it 
had taken them so many days and nights to reach, 
he thought he was in danger still. " And how far 
is it now to Canada ? " he asked. When told how 
many miles, for they were to come through New 
York State, and cross the Suspension Bridge, he was 
ready to give up. " From dat time Joe was silent," 
said Harriet ; " he sang no more, he talked no 
more ; he sat wid his head on his hand, and nobody 
could 'muse him or make him take any interest in 
anyting." They passed along in safety, and at 
length found themselves in the cars, approach- 
ing Suspension Bridge. The rest were very 
joyous and happy, "but Joe sat silent and sad. 
Their fellow-passengers all seemed interested in 
and for them, and listened with tears, as Harriet 
and all their party lifted up their voices and 


I'm on my way to Canada, 

That cold and dreary land ; 
The sad effects of slavery, 

I can't no longer stand. 
Fve served my master all my days, 

Widont a dime's reward ; 
And now I'm forced to run away, 

To flee the lash abroad. 
Farewell, ole master, don't think hard of me, 
I'll travel on to Canada, where all the slaves are free. 


The hounds arc baying on my track, 

Ole master comes behind, 
Resolved that he will bring me back, 

Before I cross de line ; 
I'm now embarked for yonder shore, 

There a man's a man by law ; 
The iron horse will bear me o'er, 
To shake de lion's paw. 
Oh, righteous Father, wilt thou not pity me, 
And aid me on to Canada where all the slaves are free. 

Oh, I heard Queen Victoria say, 

That if we would forsake 
Our native land of slavery, 

And come across the lake ; 
That she was standin 1 on de shore, 

Wid arms extended wide, 
To give us all a peaceful home 

Beyond de rolling tide. 
Farewell, ole master, etc. 

The cars be°;an to cross the bridge. Harriet 
was very anxious to have her companions see the 
Falls. William, Peter, and Eliza came eagerly to 
look at the wonderful sight ; but Joe sat still, with 
his head upon his hand. 

" Joe, come look at de Falls ! Joe, you fool you, 
come see de Falls ! its your last chance." But Joe 
sat still and never raised his head. At length Har- 
riet knew by the rise in the center of the bridge, 
and the descent on the other side ? that they had 
crossed " the line." She sprang across to Joe's 
seat, shook him with all her might, and shouted, 
" Joe, you've shook de lion's paw ! " Joe did not 
know what she meant. " Joe, you're free ! " shout- 


ed Harriet. Then Joe's head went up, he raised 
his hands on high, and his face, streaming with 
tears, to heaven, and broke out in loud and thrill- 
ing tones: 

" Glory to God and Jesus too, 
One more soul is safe ! 
Oh, go and carry de news, 
One more soul got safe.'" 

" Joe, come and look at de Falls ! " called Har- 

" Glory to God and Jesus too, 
One more soul got safe." 

was all the answer. The cars stopped on the other 
side. Joe's feet were the first to touch British soil, 
after those of the conductor. 

Loud roared the waters of Niagara, but louder 
still ascended the anthem of praise from the over- 
flowing heart of the freeman. And can we doubt 
that the strain was taken up by angel voices, and 
that through the arches of Heaven echoed and re- 
echoed the strain : 

Glory to God in the Highest, 
Glory to God and Jesus too, 
One more soul is safe. 

" The ladies and gentlemen gathered round him," 
said Harriet, " till I couldn't see Joe for the crowd, 
only I heard c Glory to God and Jesus too ! ' louder 
than ever." William went after him, and pulled 


him, saying, " Joe, stop your noise ! you act like 
a fool ! ' Then Peter ran in and jerked him mos' 
off his feet, — " Joe, stop your hollerin' ! Folks '11 
think you're crazy ! " But Joe gave no heed. 
The ladies were crying, and the tears like rain ran 
down Joe's sable cheeks. A lady reached over 
her fine cambric handkerchief to him. Joe wiped 
his face, and then he spoke. 

" Oh ! if I'd felt like dis down South, it would 
hab taken nine men to take me; only one more 
journey for me now, and dat is to Hebben ! " 
" Well, you ole fool you," said Harriet, with whom 
there seems but one step from the sublime to the 
ridiculous, " you might a' looked at de Falls fust, 
and den gone to Hebben afterwards." She has 
seen Joe several times since, a happy and industri- 
ous freeman in Canada. 

When asked, as she often is, how it was possible 
that she was not afraid to go back, with that tre- 
mendous price upon her head, Harriet always an- 
swers, " Why, don't I tell you, Missus, t'wan't me, 
'twas de Lord ! I always tole him, ' I trust to you. 
I don't know where to go or what to do, but I ex- 
pect you to lead me,' an' he always did." At one 
time she was going down, watched for everywhere, 
after there had been a meeting; of slaveholders in 


the court-house of one of the large cities of Mary- 
land, and an added reward had been put upon her 
head, with various threats of the different cruel de- 
vices by which she should be tortured and put to 
death ; friends gathered round her, imploring her 
not to go on directly in the face of danger and 
death, and this was Harriet's answer to them : 

" Now look yer ! John saw the city, didn't he ? 
Yes, John saw the city. Well, what did he 
see? He saw twelve gates — three of dose gates 
was on de north — three of 'em was on de east — 
and three of 'em was on de west— but dere was 
three of 'em on de South too ; an' I reckon if dey 
kill me down dere, I'll git into one of dern gates, 
don't you ? " 

Whether Harriet's ideas of the geographical 
bearings of the gates of the Celestial City, as seen 
in the Apocalyptic vision, were correct or not, we 
cannot doubt that she was right in the deduction her 
faith drew from them ; and that somewhere, whether 
north, south, east, or west, to our dim vision, 
there is a gate to be opened for Harriet, where the 
welcome will be given, "Come in thou blessed of 
my Father." 

Many of the stories told me by Harriet, in an- 
swer to questions,- have been corroborated by let- 


ters, some of which will appear in this book. Of 
others, I have not been able to procure confirma- 
tion, owing to ignorance of the address of those 
conversant with the facts. I find among her pa- 
pers, many of which are defaced by being carried 
about with her for years, portions of letters ad- 
dressed to myself, by persons at the South, and 
speaking of the valuable assistance Harriet was 
rendering our soldiers in the hospital, and our 
armies in the field. At this time her manner of 
life, as related by herself, was this : 

" Well, Missus, I'd go to cle hospital, I would, ' 
early eb'ry mornin'. I'd get a big chunk of ice, I 
would, and put it in a basin, and # fill it with water; 
den I'd take a sponge and begin. Fust man I'd 
come to, I'd thrash away de flies, an' dey'd rise, 
dey would, like bees roun' a hive. Den I'd begin 
to bathe der wounds, an' by de time I'd bathed off 
three or four, de fire and heat would have melted 
de ice and made de water warm, an' it would be as 
red as clar blood. Den I'd go an' git more ice, I 
would, an' by de time I got to de nex' ones, de 
Hies would be roun' de fust ones black an' thick as 
eber." In this way she worked, day after clay, 
till late at night; then she went home to her 
little cabin, and made about fifty pies, a great 


quantity of ginger-bread, and two casks of root 
beer. These she would hire some contraband to 
sell for her through the camps, and thus she would 
provide her support for another day ; for this 
woman never received pay or pension, and never 
drew for herself but twenty days' rations during 
the four years of her labors. At one time she was 
called away from Hilton Head, by one of our offi- 
cers, to come to Fernandina, where the men were 
" dying off like sheep," from dysentery. Harriet 
had acquired quite a reputation for her skill in 
curing this disease, by a medicine which she pre- 
pared from roots which grew near the waters 
which gave the disease. Here she found thou- 
sands of sick soldiers and contrabands, and imme- 
diately gave up her time and attention to them. 
At another time, we find her nursing those who 
were down by hundreds with small-pox and ma- 
lignant fevers. She had never had these diseases, 
but she seems to have no more fear of death in 
one form than another. " De Lord would take 
keer of her till her time came, an' den she was 
ready to go." 

When oar armies and gun-boats first appeared 
in any part of the South, many of the poor negroes 
were as much afraid of " de Yankee Buckra " as of 


their own masters. It was almost impossible to win 
their confidence, or to get information from them. 
But to Harriet they would tell anything ; and so it 
became quite important that she should accompany 
expeditions going up the rivers, or into unexplored 
parts of the country, to control and get information 
from those whom they took with them as guides. 

Gen. Hunter asked her at one time if she would 
go with several gun-boats up the Combahee River, 
the object of the expedition being to take up the 
torpedoes placed by the rebels in the river, to de- 
stroy railroads and bridges, and to cut off supplies 
from the rebel troops. She said she would go if 
Col. Montgomery was to be appointed commander 
of the expedition. Col. Montgomery was one of 
John Brown's men, and was well known to Harriet. 
Accordingly, Col. Montgomery was appointed to 
the command, and Harriet, with several men un- 
der her, the principal of whom was J. Plowden, 
whose pass I have, accompanied the expedition. 
Harriet describes in the most graphic manner the 
appearance of the plantations as they passed up 
the river ; the frightened negroes leaving their work 
and taking to the woods, at sight of the gun-boats ; 
then coming to peer out like startled deer, and 
scudding away like the wind at the sound of the 


steam-whistle. " Well," said one old negro, " Mas'r 
said de Yankees had horns and tails, but I nebber 
beliebed it till now." But the word was passed 
along by the mysterious telegraphic communication 
existing among these simple people, that these were 
" Lincoln's gun-boats come to set them free." In 
vain, then, the drivers used their whips, in their ef- 
forts to hurry the poor creatures back to their quar- 
ters ; they all turned and ran for the gun-boats. 
They came down every road, across every field, 
just as they had left their work and their cabins ; 
women with children cling-ino; around their necks, 
hanging to their dresses, running behind, all mak- 
ing at full speed for " Lincoln's gun-boats." Eight 
hundred poor wretches at one time crowded the 
banks, with their hands extended towards their de- 
liverers, and they were all taken off upon the gun- 
boats, and carried down to Beaufort. 

" I nebber see such a sight," said Harriet ; we 
laughed, an' laughed, an' laughed. Here you'd see 
a woman wid a pail on her head, rice a sniokin' in 
it jus as she'd taken it from de fire, young one hang- 
in' on behind, one han' roun' her forehead to hold 
on, 'tother han' diggin' into de rice-pot, eatin' wid 
all its might ; hold of her dress two or three more ; 
down her back a bag wid a pig in it. One woman 


brought two pigs, a white one, an' a black one ; 
we took 'em all on board; named de white pig 
Beauregard, an' de black pig Jeff Davis. Some- 
times de women would come wid twins hansrin' 
roun' der necks ; 'pears like I nebber see so many- 
twins in my life ; bags on der shoulders, baskets on 
der heads, and young ones taggin' behin', all loaded ; 
pigs squealiir , chickens screamin', young ones squal- 
lin\" And so they came pouring down to the gun- 
boats. When they stood on the shore, and the small 
boats put out to take them off, they all wanted to 
get in at once. After the boats were crowded, they 
would hold on to them so that they could not leave 
the shore. The oarsmen would beat them on their 
hands, but they would not let go ; they were afraid 
the gun-boats would go off and leave them, and all 
wanted to make sure of one of these arks of ref- 
uge. At length Col. Montgomery shouted from 
the upper deck, above the clamor of appealing 
tones, "Moses, you'll have to give 'em a song." 
Then Harriet lifted up her voice and sang : 

" Of all the whole creation in the east or in the west, 
The glorious Yankee nation is the greatest and the best. 
Come along I Come along ! don't he alarmed, 
Uncle Sam is rich enough to give you all a farm.'" 

At the end of every verse, the negroes in their 
enthusiasm would throw up their hands and shout 


" Glory," and the row-boats would take that op- 
portunity to push off; and so at last they were all 
brought on board. The masters fled ; houses and 
barns and railroad bridges were burned, tracks 
torn up, torpedoes destroyed, and the expedition 
was in all respects successful. 

This fearless woman was often sent into the rebel 
lines as a spy, and brought back valuable informa- 
tion as to the position of armies and batteries ; 
she has been in battle when the shot was falling 
like hail, and the bodies of dead and wounded men 
were dropping around her like leaves in autumn ; 
but the thought of fear never seems to have had 
place for a moment in her mind. She had her duty 
to perform, and she expected to be taken care of 
till it was done. 

Would that instead of taking them in this poor 
way at second-hand, my readers could hear this 
woman's graphic accounts of scenes she herself 
witnessed, could listen to her imitations of negro 
preachers in their own very peculiar dialect, her 
singing of camp-meeting hymns, her account of 
" experience meetings," her imitations of the dances, 
and the funeral ceremonies of these simple people. 
" Whv, der language down dar in de far South is 
jus' as different from ours in Maryland, as you can 


think," said she. " Dey laughed when dey heard me 
talk, an' I could not understand dem, no how." 
She described a midnight funeral which she at- 
tended ; for the slaves, never having been allowed 
to bury their dead in the day time, continued the 
custom of night funerals from habit. 

The corpse was laid upon the ground, and the 
people all sat round, the group being lighted up 
by pine torches. 

The old negro preacher began by giving out a 
hymn, which was sung by all. "An' oh ! I wish 
you could hear 'em sing, Missus," said Harriet. 
" Der voices is so sweet, and dey can sing eberyting 
we sing, an' 1 den dey can sing a great many hymns 
dat we can't nebber catch at ail." 

The old preacher began his sermon by pointing 
to the dead man, who lay in a rude box on the 
ground before him. 

"Shum? Ded-a-de-dah! Shum, David? Ded- 
a-de-dah ! Now I want you all to flee* for moment. 
Who ob all dis congregation is gwine next to lie 
ded-a-de-dah ? You can't go nowheres, my frien's 
and bredren, but Deff '11 fin' you. You can't dig 
no hole so deep an' bury yourself dar, but God 
A'mighty's far-seein' eye '11 fine you, an' Deff '11 
come arter you. You can't go into that big fort 


(pointing to Hilton Head), an' shut yourself up dar ; 
dat fort dat Sesh Buckner said de debil couldn't 
take, but DefF '11 fin' you dar. All your frien's may 
forget you, but DefF '11 nebber forget you. Now, 
my bredren, prepare to lie ded-a-de-dah !" 

This was the burden of a very long; sermon, after 
which the whole congregation went round in a sort 
of solemn dance, called the " spiritual shuffle," 
shaking hands with each other, and calling each 
other by name as they sang : 

My sis'r Mary 's boun 1 to go ; 
My sis'r Nanny 's boun 1 to go ; 
My brudder Tony 's boun' to go ; 
My brudder July 's boun 1 to go. 

This to the same tune, till every hand had been 
shaken by every one of the company. When they 
came to Harriet, who was a stranger, they sang : 

Eberybody 's boun' to go 1 

The body was then placed in a Government wagon, 
and by the light of the pine torches, the strange, 
dark procession moved along, singing a rude fune- 
ral hymn, till they reached the place of burial. 

Harriet's account of her interview with an old 
negro she met at Hilton Head, is amusing and 
interesting. He said, " I'd been yere seventy- 
three years, workin' for my master widout even a 


dime wages. I'd worked fain-wet sun dry. I'd 
worked wid my mouf full of dust, but would not 
stop to get a drink of water. I'd been whipped, 
an' starved, an' I was always prayin', c Oh ! Lord, 
come an' delibber us ! ' All dat time de birds had 
been flyin', an' de rabens had been cryin', and de 
fish had been sunnin' in* de waters. One day I 
look up, an' I see a big cloud ; it didn't come up 
like as de clouds come out far yonder, but it 
'peared to be right ober head. Der was tunders 
out of dat, an' der was lightnin's. Den I looked 
down on de water, an' I see, 'peared to me a big 
house in de water, an' out of de big house came 
great big eggs, and de good eggs went on trou' de 
air, an' fell into de fort; an' de bad eggs burst 
before dey got dar. Den de Sesh Buckra begin 
to run, an de neber stop running till dc git to de 
swamp, an' de stick dar an' de die dar. Den I 
heard 'twas the Yankee ship* firm' out de big 
eggs, an dey had come to set us free. Den I praise 
de Lord. He come an' put he little finger in de 
work, an' dey Sesh Buckra all go ; and de birds stop 
flyin', and de rabens stop cryin', an' when I go to 
catch a fish to eat wid my rice, de 's no fish dar. 
De Lord A'mighty 'd come and frightened 'em all 

* The Wabash. 


out of de waters. Oh ! Praise de Lord ! I 'd 
prayed seventy-three years, an' now he 's come an' 
we's all free." 

The last time Harriet was returning from the 
war, with her pass as hospital nurse, she bought a 
half-fare ticket, as she was told she must do ; and 
missing the other train, she got into an emigrant 
train on the Amboy Railroad. When the con- 
ductor looked at her ticket, he said, " Come, hus- 
tle out of here ! We don't carry niggers for half- 
fare." Harriet explained to him that she was in 
the employ of Government, and was entitled to 
transportation as the soldiers were. But the con- 
ductor took her forcibly by the arm, and said, 
" I'll make you tired of trying to stay here." She 
resisted, and being very strong, she could probably 
have got the better of the conductor, had he not 
called three men to his assistance. The car was 
filled with emigrants, and no one seemed to take 
her part. The only words she heard, accompa- 
nied with fearful oaths, were, " Pitch the nagur 
out ! " They nearly wrenched her arm off, and 
at length threw her, with all their strength, into a 
baggage-car. She supposed her arm was broken, 
and in intense suffering she came on to New York. 
As she left the car, a delicate-looking young man 


came up to her, and, handing her a card, said, 
" You ought to sue that conductor, and if you 
want a witness, call on me." Harriet remained all 
winter under the care of a physician in New York ; 
he advised her to sue the Railroad company, and 
said that he would willingly testify as to her inju- 
ries. But the card the young man had given her 
was only a visiting card, and she did not know 
where to find him, and so she let the matter go. 

The writer here finds it necessary to apologize 
for the very desultory and hasty manner in which. 
this little book is written. Being herself pressed 
for time, in the expectation of soon leaving the 
country, she is obliged to pen down the material to 
be used in the short and interrupted interviews she 
can obtain with Harriet, and also to use such let- 
ters and accounts as may be sent her, as they come, 
without being able to work them in, in the order of 
time. A very material assistance is to be rendered 
her by the kind offer of an account of Harriet's 
services during the war, written by Mr. Charles P. 
Wood, of Auburn, and kindly copied by one of 
Harriet's most faithful and most efficient friends, 
Mrs. S. M. Hopkins, of that place. 

It was a wise plan of our sagacious heroine to 
leave her old parents till the last to be brought 


away. They were pensioned off as too old to work, 
had a cabin, and a horse and cow, and were quite 
comfortable. If Harriet had taken them away be- 
fore the young people, these last would have been 
sold into Southern slavery, to keep them out of her 
way. But at length Harriet heard that the old 
man had been betrayed by a slave whom he had 
assisted, but who had turned back, and when ques- 
tioned by his wife, told her the story of his intended 
escape, and of the aid he had received from " Old 
Ben." This woman, hoping to curry favor with 
her master, revealed the whole to him, and " Old 
Ben " was arrested. He was to be tried the next 
week, when Harriet appeared upon the scene, and, 
as she says, " saved dem de expense ob de trial, and 
removed her father to a higher court, by taking 
him off to Canada. The manner of their escape is 
detailed in the following letter from Thomas Gar- 
rett, the Wilmington Quaker : 

Wilmington, 6th Mo., 1868. 
My Friend: Thy favor of the 12th reached me 
yesterday, requesting such reminiscences as I could 
give respecting the remarkable labors of Harriet 
Tubman, in aiding her colored friends from bondage. 
I may begin by saying, living as I have in a slave 
State, and the laws being very severe where any 


proof could be made of any one aiding slaves on 
their way to freedom, I have not felt at liberty to 
keep any written word of Harriet's or my own la- 
bors, except in numbering those whom I have aided. 
For that reason I cannot furnish so interesting an 
account of Harriet's labors as I otherwise could, and 
now would be glad to do ; for in truth I never met 
with any person, of any color, who had more confi- 
dence in the voice of God, as spoken direct to her 
soul. She has frequently told me that she talked 
with God, and he talked with her every day of her 
life, and she has declared to me that she felt no 
more fear of being arrested by her former master, 
or any other person, when in his immediate neigh- 
borhood, than she did in the State of New York, 
or Canada, for she said she never ventured only 
where God sent her, and her faith in a Supreme 
Power truly was great. 

I have now been confined to my room with in- 
disposition more than four weeks, and cannot sit to 
write much ; but I feel so much interested in Har- 
riet that I will try to give some of the most remark- 
able incidents that now present themselves to my 
mind. The date of the commencement of her la- 
bors, I cannot certainly give ; but I think it must 
have been about 1845 - ? from that time till 1800, I 


think she must have brought from the neighborhood 
where she had been held as a slave, from 60 to 80 
persons, from Maryland, some 80 miles from here. 
No slave who placed himself under her care, was 
ever arrested that I have heard of; she mostly had 
her regular stopping places on her route ; but in 
one instance, when she had two stout men with her, 
some 30 miles below here, she said that God told 
her to stop, which she did ; and then asked him 
what she must do. He told her to leave the road, 
and turn to the left; she obeyed, and soon came to 

a small stream of tide water; there was no boat, 

no bridge; she again inquired of her Guide what 
she was to do. She was told to ero through. It 
was cold, in the month of March ; but having con- 
fidence in her Guide, she went in; the water came 
up toiler arm-pits; the men refused to follow till 

they saw her sale on the Opposite shore. They then 
followed, and if I mistake not 3 she had soon to wade 

a second Btream; soon after which she came to a 

cabin of colored people, who took them all in, put 
them to bed, and dried their clothes, ready to pro- 
ceed next night on their journey. Harriet had run 
out of money, and gave them some of her under- 
clothing to pay for their kindness. When she called 
on me two days after, she was so hoarse she could 


hardly speak, and was also suffering with violent 
toothache. The strange part of the story we found 
to be, that the master of these two men had put up 
the previous day, at the railroad station near where 
she left, an advertisement for them, offering a large 
reward for their apprehension ; but they made a 
safe exit. She at one time brought as many as 
seven or eight, several of whom were women and 
children. She was well known here in Chester 
County and Philadelphia, and respected by all true 
abolitionists. I had been in the habit of furnish- 
ing her and those that accompanied her, as she re- 
turned from her acts of mercy, with new shoes; 
and on one occasion when I had not seen her for 
three months, she came into my store. I said, 
" Harriet, I am glad to see thee ! I suppose thee 
wants a pair of new shoes." Her reply was " I 
want more than that." I, in jest, said, "I have al- 
ways been liberal with thee, and wish to be; but I 
am not rich, and cannot afford to give much." Her 
reply was : " God tells me you have money for me." 
I asked her "if God never deceived her?" She 
said, " No ! " " Well ! how much does thee want ? " 
After studying a moment, she said : " About twenty- 
three dollars." I then gave her twenty-four dol- 
lars and some odd cents, the net proceeds of five 


pounds sterling, received through Eliza Wigham, 
of Scotland, for her. I had given some accounts 
of Harriet's labor to the Anti-Slavery Society of 
Edinburgh, of which Eliza Wigham was Secretary. 
On the reading of my letter, a gentleman present 
said he would send Harriet four pounds if he knew 
of any way to get it to her. Eliza Wigham offered 
to forward it to me for her, and that was the first 
money ever received by me for her. Some twelve 
months after, she called on me again, and said that 
God told her I had some money for her, but not so 
much as before. I had, a few days previous, re- 
ceived the net proceeds of one pound ten shil- 
lings from Europe for her. To say the Least, there 
was something remarkable in these facts, whether 
clairvoyance, or the divine impression on her mind 
from the source of all power, I cannot tell; but 
certain it was she had a guide within herself other 
than the written word, for she never had any edu- 
cation. She brought away her aged parents in a 
singular manner. They started witli an old horse, 
fitted out in primitive style witli a straw collar, a 
pair of old chaise wheels, with a board on the axle 
to sit on, another board swung witli ropes, fastened 
to the axle, to rest their feet on. She got her par- 
ents, who were both slaves belonging to different 


masters, on this rude vehicle to the railroad, put 
them in the cars, turned Jehu herself, and drove to 
town in a style that no human being ever did be- 
fore or since ; but she was happy at having arrived 
safe. Next day, I furnished her with money to 
take them all to Canada. I afterwards sold their 
horse, and sent them the balance of the proceeds. 
I believe that Harriet succeeded in freeing ail her 
relatives but one sister and her three children. 

Etc., etc. Thy friend, 

Tiios. Garuett. 

Friend Garrett probably refers here to those who 
passed through his hands. Harriet was obliged to 
come by many different routes on her different 
journeys, and though she never counted those 
whom she brought away with her, it would seem, 
by the computation of others, that there must have 
been somewhere near three hundred brought by 
her to the Northern States and Canada. 

Extracts from a letter written by Mr. Sanborn, 
Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of State 

My Dear Madame : Mr. Phillips has sent me 
your note, asking for reminiscences of Harriet Tub- 


man, and testimonials to her extraordinary story, 
which all her New England friends will, I am 
sure, be glad to furnish. 

I never had reason to doubt the truth of what 
Harriet said in regard to her own career, for I 
found her singularly truthful. Her imagination is 
warm and rich, and there is a whole region of the 
marvelous in her nature, which lias manifested 
itself at times remarkably. Her dreams and visions, 
misgivings and fore warnings, ought not to be 
omitted in any life of her, particularly those re- 
lating to John Brown. 

She was in his confidence in 1858-9, and he had 
a great regard for her, which he often expressed to 
me. She aided him in his plans, and expected to 
do so still further, when his career was closed bv 
that wonderful campaign in Virginia. The first 
time she came to my house, in Concord, after that 
tragedy, she was shown into a room in the evening, 
where Brackett's bust of John Brown was stand- 
ing. The sight of it, which was new to her, threw 
her into a sort of ecstacy of sorrow and admiration, 
and she went on in her rhapsodical way to pro- 
nounce his apotheosis. 

She has often been in Concord, where she resided 
at the houses of Emerson, Alcott, the Whitneys, 


the Brooks family, Mrs. Horace Mann, and other 
well known persons. They all admired and re- 
spected her, and nobody doubted the reality of her 
adventures. She was too real a person to be sus- 
pected. In 1862, I think it was, she went from 
Boston to Port Royal, under the advice and encour- 
agement of Mr. Garrison, Governor Andrew, Dr. 
Howe, and other leading people. Her career in 
South Carolina is well known to some of our offi- 
cers, and I think to Colonel Higginson, now of 
Newport, R. I., and Colonel James Montgomery, 
of Kansas, to both of whom she was useful as a 
spy and guide, if I mistake not. I regard her as, 
on the whole, the most extraordinary person of her 
race I have ever met. She is a negro of pure or 
almost pure blood, can neither read nor write, and 
has the characteristics of her race and condition. 
But she has done what can scarcely be credited on 
the best authority, and she has accomplished her 
purposes with a coolness, foresight, patience, and 
wisdom, which in a white man would have raised 
him to the highest pitch of reputation. 

I am, dear Madame, very truly your servant, 

F. B. Sanborn. 

Of the " dreams and visions " mentioned in this 


letter, the writer might have given many wonder- 
ful instances ; but it was thought best not to 
insert anything which, with any, might bring dis- 
credit upon the story. When these turns of som- 
nolency come upon Harriet, she imagines that her 
" spirit " leaves her body, and visits other scenes 
and places, not only in this world, but in the world 
of spirits. And her ideas of these scenes show, to 
say the least of it, a vividness of imagination seldom 
equaled in the soarings of the most cultivated minds. 
Not long since, the writer, on going into Harriet's 
room in the morning, sat down by her and began 
to read that wonderful and glorious description of 
the heavenly Jerusalem in the two last chapters of 
Revelations. When the reading was finished, Har- 
riet burst into a rhapsody which perfectly amazed 
her hearer — telling of what she had seen in one of 
these visions, sights which no one could doubt had 
been real to her, and which no human imagination 
could have conceived, it would seem, unless in dream 
or vision. There was a wild poetry in these descrip- 
tions which seemed to border almost on inspiration, 
but bv many they might be characterized as the 
ravings of insanity. All that can be said is, how- 
ever, if this woman is insane, there has been a won- 
derful "method in her madness." 


At one time, Harriet was much troubled in 
spirit about her three brothers, feeling sure that 
some great evil was impending over their heads. 
She wrote a letter, by the hand of a friend, to a 
man named Jacob Jackson, who lived near there. 
Jacob was a free negro, who could both read and 
write, and who was under suspicion at that time, 
as it was thought he had something to do with the 
disappearance of so many slaves. It was neces- 
sary, therefore, to be very cautious in writing to 
him. Jacob had an adopted son, William Henry 
Jackson, also free, who had come South ; and so 
Harriet determined to sign her letter with his 
name, knowing that Jacob would be clever enough 
to understand, by her peculiar phraseology, what 
meaning she intended to convey to him. She, 
therefore, after speaking of indifferent matters, 
said, "Read my letter to the old folks, and give 
my love to them, and tell my brothers to be 
always watching unto prayer ', and when the good 
old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step 

The letter was signed " William Henry Jackson." 
Jacob was not allowed to have his letters till the 
self-elected inspectors had had the reading of 
them, and studied into their secret meaning. 


They, therefore, got together, wiped their glasses, 
and got them on, and proceeded to a careful peru- 
sal of this mysterious document. What it meant, 
they could not imagine ; William Henry Jackson 
had no parents or brothers, and the letter was in- 
comprehensible. White genius having exhausted 
itself, black genius was railed in, and Jacob's 
letter was at last handed to him. Jacob saw at 
once what it meant, but tossed it down, saying, 
"Dat letter can't be meant for me, no how. I 
can't make head nor tail of it," and walked off and 
took immediate measures t<» let Harriet's brothers 
know secretly that she was coming, and they must 
be ready to start at a moment's notice for the North. 

When Harriet arrived there, it was the day before 

Christmas, and she found her three brothers, who 

had attempted to escape, were advertised to be 
sold on Christmas day to the highest bidder, to go 

down to the cotton and rice Gelds with the chain- 
gang. Christmas came on Sunday, and therefore 
they were not to be Bold till Monday. Harriet 
arrived on Saturday, and gave them secret notice 
to be ready to start Saturday night, immediately 
after dark, the first Btopping-place to be their 
father's cabin, forty miles away. When they 
assembled, their brother John was missing ; but 


when Harriet was ready, the word was " For- 
ward ! " and she " nebber waited for no one." 
Poor John was almost ready to start, when his 
wife was taken ill, and in an hour or two, another 
little inheritor of the blessings of slavery had come 
into the world. John must go off for a "Granny," 
and then he would not leave his wife in her pres- 
ent circumstances. But after the birth of the 
child, he began to think he must start; the North 
and Liberty, or the South and life-long Slavery — 
these were the alternatives, and this was his last 
chance. lie tried again and again to steal out of 
the door, but a watchful eye was on him, and he 
was always arrested by the question, " Where you 
gwine, John ? " At length he told her he was 
going to try to see if he couldn't get hired out on 
Christmas to another man. His wife did not 
think that he was to be sold. He went out of the 
door, and stood by the corner of the house, near 
her bed, listening. At length, he heard her sob- 
bing and crying, and not being able to endure it, 
he went back. " Oh ! John," said his wife, " you's 
gwine to lebe me ; but, wherebber you go, remem- 
ber me an' de chillen." John went out and started 
at full speed for his father's cabin, forty miles 
away. At daybreak, he overtook the others in 


the " fodder house," near the cabin of their pa- 
rents. Harriet had not seen her mother there for 
six years, but they did not dare to let the old 
woman know of their being in her neighborhood, 
or of their intentions, for she would have raised 
such an uproar in her efforts to detain them with 
her, that the whole plantation would have been 
alarmed. The poor old woman had been expect- 
ing the boys all day, to spend Christmas with her 
as usual. She had been hard at work, had killed 
a pig, and put it to all the various uses to which 
sinner's flesh is doomed, and had made all the 
preparations her circumstances admitted of, to 
give them a sumptuous entertainment, and there 
she sat watching. In the night, when Harriet and 
two of her brothers and two other men, who had 
escaped with them, arrived at the "fodder house," 
they were exhausted and famished. They sent 
the two strange men up to the house to try and 
speak to " Old Ben," their father, but not to let 
their mother know of their being in the neighbor- 
hood. The men succeeded in rousing old Ben, 
who came out, and as soon as he heard their story, 
he gathered together a quantity of provisions, and 
came down to the fodder house, and slipped them 
inside the door, taking care not to see his children. 


Up among the ears of corn they lay, and one of 
them he had not seen for six years. It rained 
very hard all that Sunday, and there they lay all 
day, for they could not start till night. At about 
daybreak, John joined them. There were wide 
chinks in the boards of the fodder house, and 
through them they could see their father's cabin ; 
and all day long, every few minutes, they would see 
the old woman come out, and, shading her eyes 
with her hand, take a long look down the road to 
see if her children were coming, and then they 
could almost hear her sigh as she turned into the 
house, disappointed. 

Two or three times the old man came down, and 
pushed food inside the door, and after nightfall he 
came to accompany them part of the way upon 
their journey. When he reached the fodder house, 
he tied his handkerchief tight over his eyes, and 
two of his sons taking him by each arm, he 
accompanied them some miles upon their jour- 
ney. They then bade him farewell, and left 
him standing blind-fold in the middle of the 
road. When he could no longer hear their foot- 
steps, he took off the handkerchief, and turned 

But before leaving, they had gone up to the cabin 


to take a silent farewell of the poor old mother. 
Through the little window of the cabin, they saw 
the old woman sitting by her fire with a pipe 
in her mouth, her head on her hand, rocking back 
and forth as she did when she was in tiouble, and 
wondering what new evil had come to her children. 
With streaming eyes, they watched her for ten or 
fifteen minutes ; but time was precious, and they 
must reach their next station before daybreak, and 
so they turned sadly away. 

When the holidays were over, and the men came 
for the three brothers to sell them, they could not 
be found. The first place to search was of course 
the plantation where all their relatives and friends 
lived. They went to the "big house," and asked 
the "Doctor" if he had seen anything of them. 
The Doctor said, " No, they mostly came up there 
to see the other niggers when they came for Christ- 
mas, but they hadn't been round at all. " Have 
you been down to Old Ben's ? " the Doctor asked. 
" Yes." " What does Old Hit say ? " " Old Rit 
says not one of 'em came this Christmas. She was 
looking for 'em most all day, and most broke her 
heart about it." "What does Old Ben say?" 
" Old Ben says that he hasn't seen one of his chil- 
dren this Christmas." " Well, if Old Ben says that, 


they haven't been round. " And so the man-hunters 
went off disappointed. 

One of the other brothers, William Henry, had 
long been attached to a girl named Catherine, 
who lived with another master ; but her master 
would not let her marry him. When William 
Henry made up his mind to start with Harriet, he 
determined to bring Catherine with him. And so 
he went to a tailor's, and bought a new suit of 
men's clothes, and threw them over the garden 
fence of Catherine's master. The garden ran down 
to a run, and Catherine had been notified where to 
find the clothes. When the time had come to get 
ready, Catherine went to the foot of the garden 
and dressed herself in the suit of men's clothes. 
She was soon missed, and all the girls in the house 
were set to looking for Catherine. Presently they 
saw coining up through the garden, as if from the 
river, a well-dressed little darkey, and they all 
stopped looking for Catherine to stare at him. He 
walked directly by them round the house, and 
went out of the gate, without the slightest sus- 
picion being excited as to who he was. In a fort- 
night from that time, the whole party were safe in 

William Henry died in Canada, but Catherine 


has been seen and talked with by the writer, at the 
house of the old people. 

Of the many letters, testimonials, and passes, 
placed in the hands of the writer by Harriet, the 
following are selected for insertion in this book, 
and are quite sufficient to verify her statements. 

A Letter from Gen, Saxton to a Lady of Auburn. 

Atlanta, Ga., March 21, 1868. 
My Dear Madame : I have just received your 
letter informing me that Hon. Wm. H. Seward, 
Secretary of State, would present a petition to 
Congress for a pension to Harriet Tubman, for 
services rendered in the Union Army daring the 
late war. I can bear witness to the value of her 
services in South Carolina and Florida. She was 
employed in the hospitals and as a spy. She made 
many a raid inside the enemy's lines, displaying 
remarkable courage, zeal, and fidelity. She was 
employed by General Hunter, and I think by 
Generals Stevens and Sherman, and is as deserving 
of a pension from the Government for her services 
as any other of its faithful servants. 
I am very truly yours, 
Rufus Saxton, Bvt. Brig.-Gen. U. S. A. 


Letter from Hon. Wm. IT. Seward. 

Washington, July 25, 1868. 
Maj.-Gen. Hunter — 

My Dear Sir: Harriet Tubman, a colored 
woman, has been nursing our soldiers during nearly 
all the war. She believes she has a claim for faith- 
ful services to the command in South Carolina with 
which you are connected, and she thinks that you 
would be disposed to see her claim justly settled. 

I have known her long, and a nobler, higher spirit, 
or a truer, seldom dwells in the human form. I 
commend her, therefore, to your kind and best 
attentions. Faithfully your friend, 

William H. Seward. 

Letter from Col. James Montgomery. 

St. Helena Island, S. C, July 6, 1863. 

Headquarters Colored Brigade. 

Brig.-Gen. Gilmore, Commanding Department of 
the South— 
General : I wish to commend to your atten- 
tion, Mrs. Harriet Tubman, a most remarkable 
woman, and invaluable as a scout. I have been 
acquainted with her character and actions for 
several years. 


Walter D. Plowden is a man of tried courage, 
and can be made highly useful. 

I am, Genera], your most ob't servant, 

James Montgomery, Col. Com. Brigade. 

Letter from Mrs. Gen. A. JBaird. 

Peterboro, Nov. 24, 1864. 

The bearer of this, Harriet Tubman, a most ex- 
cellent woman, who has rendered faithful and good 
services to our Union army, not only in the hos- 
pital, but in various capacities, having been em- 
ployed under Government at Hilton Head, and in 
Florida ; and I commend her to the protection of 
all officers in whose department she may happen 
to be. 

She has been known and esteemed for years by 
the family of my uncle, Hon. Gerrit Smith, as a 
person of great rectitude and capabilities. 

Mrs. Gen. A. Baird. 

Letter from Hon. Gerrit Smith. 

Peterboro, K Y., Nov. 4, 1867. 

I have known Mrs. Harriet Tubman for many 
years. Seldom, if ever, have I met with a person 


more philanthropic, more self-denying, and of more 
bravery. Nor must I omit to say that she com- 
bines with her sublime spirit, remarkable discern- 
ment and judgment. 

Durino; the late war, Mrs. Tubman was eminently 
faithful and useful to the cause of our country. 
She is poor and has poor parents. Such a servant 
of the country should be well paid by the country. 
I hope that the Government will look into her 
case. Gerrit Smith. 

Testimonial from Gerrit Smith. 

Peterboro, Nov. 22, 1864. 
The bearer, Harriet Tubman, needs not any rec- 
ommendation. Nearly all the nation over, she has 
been heard of for her wisdom, integrity, patriotism, 
and bravery. The cause of freedom owes her much. 
The country owes her much. 

I have known Harriet for many years, and I 
hold her in my high esteem. Gerrit Smith. 

Certificate from Henry K. Durrant, Acting Asst. 
Surgeon, U. S. A. 

I certify that I have been acquainted with Har- 
riet Tubman for nearly two years ; and my position 


as Medical Officer in charge of " contrabands " in 
this town and in hospital, has given me frequent 
and ample opportunities to observe her general de- 
portment ; particularly her kindness and attention 
to the sick and suffering of her own race. I take 
much pleasure in testifying to the esteem in which 
she is generally held. 

Henry K. Durrant, 
Acting Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A. 
In charge " Contraband " Hospital. 
Dated at Beaufort, S. C, the 3d day of May, 

I concur fully in the above. 

R. Saxton, Brig.-Gen. Vol. 

The following are a few of the passes used by 
Harriet throughout the war. Many others are so 
defaced that it is impossible to decipher them. 

Headquarters Department of the South, 
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C, Feb. 19, 1863. 

Pass the bearer, Harriet Tubman, to Beaufort and 
back to this place, and wherever she wishes to go ; 
and give her free passage at all times, on all Gov- 
ernment transports. Harriet was sent to me from 


Boston by Gov. Andrew of Mass., and is a valua- 
ble woman. She has permission, as a servant of 
the Government, to purchase such provisions from 
the Commissary as she may need. 

D. Hunter, Maj.-Gen. Com. 

General Gilmore, who succeeded General Hunter 
in command of the Department of the South, ap- 
pends his signature to the same pass. 

Headquarters of the Department of the South, 

July 1, 1863. 
Continued in force. 

Q, A. Gilmore, Brig.-Gen. Com. 

Beaufort, Aug. 28, 1862. 
Will Capt. Warfield please let " Moses " have a 
little Bourbon whiskey for medicinal purposes. 

Henry K. Durrant, Act. Ass. Surgeon. 

War Department, Washington, D. C, 
March 20, 1865. 

Pass Mrs. Harriet Tubman (colored) to Hilton 
Head and Charleston, S. C, with free transporta- 
tion on a Government transport. 

By order of the Sec. of War. 

Louis H., Asst. Adj.-Gen., U. S. A. 

ToBvt. Brig.-Gen. Van Vliet, IT. S. Q. M., K Y. 

Not transferable. 


War Department, Washington, D. C, 

July 22, 1865. 

Permit Harriet Tubman to proceed to Fortress 
Monroe, Va., on a Government transport. Trans- 
portation will be furnished free of cost. 

By order of the Secretary of War. 

L. H., Asst. Adj. -Gen. 
Not transferable. 

Appointment as Nurse. 

Sir : — I have the honor to inform you that the 

Medical Director Department of Virginia has been 

instructed to appoint Harriet Tubman nurse or 

matron at the Colored Hospital, Fort Monroe, Va. 

Very respectfully, your obdt. servant, 

V. K. Barnes, Surgeon-General. 
Hon. Wm. H. Seward, 

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C. 

Names of Harriet's Assistants, Scouts, or Pilots. 
Scouts who are residents of Beaufort, and well 
acquainted with the main land : Peter Barns, Mott 
Blake, Sandy Selters, Solomon Gregory, Isaac Hay- 
ward, Gabriel Cohen, George Chrisholm. 


Pilots who know the channels of the rivers in 
this vicinity, and who acted as such for Col. Mont- 
gomery up the Combahee River : Charles Simmons, 
Samuel Hay ward. 

App'd, R. Saxton, Brig.-Gen. 

At this point the following good and kind letter 
from Rev. Henry Fowler is received : 

Auburn, June 23, 1868. 

My Dear Friend : — I wish to say to you how 
gratified I am that you are writing the biography 
of Harriet Tubman. I feel that her life forms part 
of the history of the country, and that it ought not 
to depend upon tradition to keep it in remembrance. 
Had not the pressure of professional claims pre- 
vented, I should have aspired to be her historian 
myself; but my disappointment in this regard is 
more than met by the satisfaction experienced in 
hearing that you are the chosen Miriam of this Af- 
rican " Moses ; " the name by which she was known 
among her emancipated followers from the land of 
bondage. Blessed be God ! a " Greater than 
Moses " has at last broken every bond. 

As ever, with warm regard, your friend, 

Henry Fowler. 


The following account of the subject of this 
memoir is cut from the JBoston Commonwealth of 
1863, kindly sent the writer by Mr. Sanborn: 

" It was said long ago that the true romance of 
America was not in the fortunes of the Indian, 
where Cooper sought it, nor in the New England 
character, where Judd found it, nor in the social 
contrasts of Virginia planters, as Thackeray im- 
agined, but in the story of the fugitive slaves. 
The observation is as true now as it was before 
war, with swift, gigantic hand, sketched the vast 
shadows, and dashed in the high lights in which 
romance loves to lurk and flash forth. But the 
stage is enlarged on which these dramas are 
played, the whole world now sit as spectators, and 
the desperation or the magnanimity of a poor 
black woman has power to shake the nation that 
so long was deaf to her cries. We write of one 
of these heroines, of whom our slave annals are 
full, — a woman whose career is as extraordinary 
as the most famous of her sex can show. 

"Araminta Ross, now known by her married 
name of Tubman, with her sounding Christian 
name changed to Harriet, is the grand-daughter 
of a slave imported from Africa, and has not a 
drop of white blood in her veins. Her parents 


were Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene, both 
slaves, but married and faithful to each other. 
They still live in old age and poverty, but free, on 
a little property at Auburn, N. Y., which their 
daughter purchased for them from Mr. Seward, 
the Secretary of State. She was born, as near as. 
she can remember, in 1820 or in 1821, in Dorchester 
County, on the Eastern shore of Maryland, and 
not far from the town of Cambridge. She had ten 
orothers and sisters, of whom three are now living, 
all at the North, and all rescued from slavery by 
Harriet, before the War. She went back just as 
the South was preparing to secede, to bring away 
a fourth, but before she could reach her, she 
was dead. Three years before, she had brought 
away her old father and mother, at great risk to 

" When Harriet was six years old, she was taken 
from her mother and carried ten miles to live with 
James Cook, whose wife was a weaver, to learn 
the trade of weaving. While still a mere child, 
Cook set her to watching his musk-rat traps, which 
compelled her to wade through the water. It 
happened that she was once sent when she was ill 
with the measles, and, taking cold from wading in 
the water in this condition, she grew very sick, 


and her mother persuaded her master to take her 
away from Cook's until she could get well. 

" Another attempt was made to teach her weav- 
ing, but she would not learn, for she hated her 
mistress, and did not want to live at home, as she 
would have done as a weayer, for it was the cus- 
tom then to weave the cloth for the family, or a 
part of it, in the house. 

" Soon after she entered her teens she was hired 
out as a field hand, and it was while thus em- 
ployed that she received a wound which nearly 
proved fatal, from the effects of which she still 
suffers. In the fall of the year, the slaves there 
work in the evening, cleaning up wheat, husking 
corn, etc. On this occasion, one of the slaves of a 
farmer named Barrett, left his work, and went to 
the village store in the evening.. The overseer 
followed him, and so did Harriet. When the slave 
was found, the overseer swore he should be 
whipped, and called on Harriet, among others, to 
help tie him. She refused, and as the man ran 
away, she placed herself in the door to stop pur- 
suit. The overseer caught up a two-pound weight 
from the counter and threw it at the fugitive, but 
it fell short and struck Harriet a stunning blow on 
the head. It was long before she recovered from 


this, and it has left her subject to a sort of stupor 
or lethargy at times ; coming upon her in the 
midst of conversation, or whatever she may be 
doing, and throwing her into a deep slumber, from 
which she will presently rouse herself, and go on 
with her conversation or work. 

" After this she lived for five or six years with 
John Stewart, where at first she worked in the 
house, but afterwards 6 hired her time,' and Dr. 
Thompson, son of her master's guardian, ' stood 
for her,' that is, was her surety for the payment 
of what she owed. She employed the time thus 
hired in the rudest labors, — drove oxen, carted, 
plowed, and did all the work of a man, — some- 
times earning money enough in a year, beyond 
what she paid her master, 'to buy a pair of 
steers,' worth forty dollars. The amount exacted 
of a woman for her time was fifty or sixty dollars, 
— of a man, one hundred to one hundred and fifty 
dollars. Frequently Harriet worked for her 
father, who was a timber inspector, and superin- 
tended the cutting and hauling of great quantities 
of timber for the Baltimore ship-yards. Stewart, 
his temporary master, was a builder, and for the 
work of Ross used to receive as much as five 
dollars a day sometimes, he being a superior work- 


man. While engaged with her father, she would 
cut wood, haul logs, etc. Her usual * stint ' was 
half a cord of wood in a day. 

" Harriet was married somewhere about 1844, 
to a free colored man named John Tubman, but 
she had no children. For the last two years of 
slavery she lived with Dr. Thompson, before men- 
tioned, her own master not being yet of age, and 
Dr. T.'s father being his guardian, as well as the 
owner of her own father. In 1849 the young man 
died, and the slaves were to be sold, though pre- 
viously set free by an old will. Harriet resolved 
not to be sold, and so, with no knowledge of the 
North — having only heard of Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey — she walked away one night alone. 
She found a friend in a white lady, who knew her 
story and helped her on her way. After many ad- 
ventures, she reached Philadelphia, where she found 
work and earned a small stock of money. With 
this money in her purse, she traveled back to Mary- 
land for her husband, but she found him married 
to another woman, and no longer caring to live with 
her. This, however, was not until two years after 
her escape, for she does not seem to have reached 
her old home in her first two expeditions. In 
December, 1850, she had visited Baltimore and 


brought away her sister and two children, who had 
come up from Cambridge in a boat, under charge 
of her sister's husband, a free black. A few months 
after she had brought away her brother and two 
other men, but it was not till the fall of 1851 that 
she found her husband and learned of his infidelity. 
She did not give way to rage or grief, but collected 
a party of fugitives and brought them safely to 
Philadelphia. In December of the same year, she 
returned, and led out a party of eleven, among them 
her brother and his wife. With these she journey- 
ed to Canada, and there spent the winter, for this 
was after the enforcement of Mason's Fugitive 
Slave Bill in Philadelphia and Boston, and there 
was no safety except ' under the paw of the British 
Lion,' as she quaintly said. But the first winter 
was terribly severe for these poor runaways. They 
earned their bread by chopping wood in the snows 
of a Canadian forest ; they were frost-bitten, hun- 
gry, and naked. Harriet was their good angel. 
She kept house for her brother, and the poor 
creatures boarded with her. She worked for them., 
begged for them, prayed for them, with the strange 
familiarity of communion with God which seems 
natural to these people, and carried them by the 
help of God through the hard winter. 


"In the spring she returned to the States, and 
as usual earned money by working in hotais and 
families as a cook. From Cape May, in the fall of 
1852, she went back once more to Maryland, and 
brought away nine more fugitives. 

" Up to this time she had expended chiefly her 
own money in these expeditions — money which she 
had earned by hard work in the drudgery of the 
kitchen. Never did any one more exactly fulfill the 
sense of George Herbert — 

" A servant with this clause 
Makes drudgery divine." 

" But it was not possible for such virtues long to 
remain hidden from the keen eyes of the Abolition- 
ists. She became known to Thomas Garrett, the 
large-hearted Quaker of Wilmington, who has aided 
the escape of three thousand fugitives ; she found 
warm friends in Philadelphia and New York, and 
wherever she went. These gave her money, which 
she never spent for her own use, but laid up for the 
help of her people, and especially for her journeys 
back to the 'land of Egypt,' as she called her old 
home. By reason of her frequent visits there, al- 
ways carrying away some of the oppressed, she 
got among her people the name of c Moses,' which 
it seems she still retains. 


"Between 1852 and 1857, she made but two of 
these journeys, in consequence partly of the in- 
creased vigilance of the slaveholders, who had suf- 
fered so much by the loss of their property. A 
great reward was offered for her capture, and she 
several times was on the point of being taken, but 
always escaped by her quick wit, or by ; warnings ' 
from Heaven — for it is time to notice one singular 
trait in her character. She is the most shrewd and 
practical person in the world, yet she is a firm be- 
liever in omens, dreams, and warnings. She de- 
clares that before her escape from slavery, she used 
to dream of flying over fields and towns, and 
rivers and mountains, looking down upon them 
4 like a bird,' and reaching at last a great fence, or 
sometimes a river, over which she would try to fly, 
6 but it 'peared like I wouldn't hab de strength, and 
jes as I was sinkin' down, dare would be ladies all 
drest in white ober dere, and dey would put out 
dere arms and pull me 'cross.' There is nothing 
strange in this, perhaps, but she declares that w^hen 
she came North she remembered these very places 
as those she had seen in her dreams, and many of 
the ladies who befriended her were those she had 
been helped by in her visions. 

" Then she says she always knows when there is 


danger near her, — she does not know how, exactly, 
but ' 'pears like my heart go flutter, flutter, and den 
dey may say " Peace, Peace," as much as dey likes, 
I know its gwine to be war P She is very firm on 
this point, and ascribes to this her great impunity, 
in spite of the lethargy before mentioned, which 
would seem likely to throw her into the hands of 
her enemies. She says she inherited this power, 
that her father could always predict the weather, 
and that he foretold the Mexican war. 

"In 1867 she made her most venturesome journey, 
for she brought with her to the North her old pa- 
rents, who were no longer able to walk such dis- 
tances as she must go by night. Consequently she 
must hire a wagon for them, and it required all 
her ingenuity to get them through Maryland and 
Delaware safe. She accomplished it, however, and 
by the aid of her friends she brought them safe to 
Canada, where they spent the winter. Her account 
of their sufferings there — of her mother's complain- 
ing and her own philosophy about it — is a lesson of 
trust in Providence better than many sermons. 
But- she decided to bring them to a more comforta- 
ble place, and so she negotiated with Mr. Seward — 
then in the Senate — for a little patch of ground 
with a house on it, at Auburn, near his own home. 


To the credit of the Secretary of State it should be 
said, that he sold her the property on very favora- 
ble terms, and gave her some time for payment. 
To this house she removed her parents, and set 
herself to work to pay for her purchase. It 
was on this errand that she first visited Boston 
— we believe in the winter of 1858-9. She brought 
a few letters from her friends in New York, but she 
could herself neither read nor write, and she was 
obliged, to trust to her wits that they were deliv- 
ered to the right persons. One of them, as it hap- 
pened, was to the present writer, who received it 
by another hand, and called to see her at her board- 
ing-house. It was curious to see the caution with 
which she received her visitor until she felt assured 
that there was no mistake. One of her means of 
security was to carry with her the daguerreotypes 
of her friends, and show them to each new person. 
If they recognized the likeness, then it was all 

" Pains were taken to secure her the attention to 
which her great services to humanity entitled her, 
and she left New England with a handsome sum of 
money towards the payment of her debt to Mr. 
Seward. Before she left, however, she had several 
interviews with Captain Brown, then in Boston. 


He is supposed to have communicated his plans to 
her, and to have been aided by her in obtaining re- 
cruits and money among her people. At any rate, 
he always spoke of her with the greatest respect, 
and declared that ' General Tubman,' as he styled 
her, was a better officer than most whom he had 
seen, and could command an army as successfully 
as she had led her small parties of fugitives. 

" Her own veneration for Captain Brown has 
always been profound, and since his murder, has 
taken the form of a religion. She had often risked 
her own life for her people, and she thought nothing 
of that ; but that a white man, and a man so no- 
ble and strong, should so take upon himself the 
burden of a despised race, she could not understand, 
and she took refuge from her perplexity in the 
mvsteries of her fervid religion. 

" Again, she laid great stress on a dream which 
she had just before she met Captain Brown in Can- 
ada. She thought she was in * a wilderness sort of 
place, all full of rocks and bushes,' when she saw 
a serpent raise its head among the rocks, and as it 
did so, it became the head of an old man with a 
long white beard, gazing at her i wishful like, jes 
as ef he war gwine to speak to me,' and then two 
other heads rose up beside him, younger than he, — 


and as she stood looking at them, and wondering 
what they could want with her, a great crowd of 
men rushed in and struck down the younger heads, 
and then the head of the old man, still looking at 
her so ' wishful.' This dream she had again and 
again, and could not interpret it ; but when she 
met Captain Brown, shortly after, behold, he was 
the very image of the head she had seen. But 
still she could not make out what her dream 
signified, till the news came to her of the tragedv 
of Harper's Ferry, and then she knew the two 
other heads were his two sons. She was in New 
York at that time, and on the day of the affair at 
Harper's Ferry, she felt her usual warning that 
something was wrong — she could not tell what. 
Finally she told her hostess that it must be Captain 
Brown who was in trouble, and that they should 
soon hear bad news from him. The next day's 
newspaper brought tidings of what had happened. 
" Her last visit to Maryland was made after this, 
in December, 1860; and in spite of the agitated 
condition of the country, and the greater watchful- 
ness of the slaveholders, she brought away seven 
fugitives, one of them an infant, which must be 
drugged with opium to keep it from crying on the 
way, and so revealing the hiding place of the party. 


She brought these safely to New York, but there a 
new difficulty met her. It was the mad winter of 
compromises, when State after State, and politician 
after politician, went down on their knees to beg 
the South not to secede. Mr. Seward and many 
of the most patriotic and distinguished citizens of 
the country went over to the side of compromise. 
They were anxious to avert the horrors of a civil 
war at almost any cost. They have since become 
among its most earnest supporters. Those anxious 
months, when darkness settled over our political 
prospects, were viewed by all classes with deep 
forebodings, and by none more so than those who, 
like Harriet, had rendered themselves obnoxious 
to the supporters of shivery, by running off so many 
of their race from its dominions. Fears for her 
personal safety caused Harriet's friends to hurry 
her off to Canada, sorely against her will. 

" She did not long remain there. The war broke 
out, for which she had been long looking, and she 
hastened to her New England friends to prepare 
for another expedition to Maryland, to bring away 
the last of her family. 

" Before she could start, however, the news came 
of the capture of Port Royal. Instantly she con- 
ceived the idea of going there and working among 


her people on the islands and the mainland. Money- 
was given her, a pass was secured through the 
agency of Governor Andrew, and she went to Beau- 
fort. There she has made herself useful in many- 
ways — has been employed as a spy by General 
Hunter, and finally has piloted Col. Montgomery 
on his most successful expedition. We gave some 
notice of this fact last week. Since then we have 
received the following letter, dictated by her, from 
which it appears that she needs some contributions 
for her work. We trust she will receive them, for 
none has better deserved it. She asks nothing for 
herself, except that her wardrobe may be replen- 
ished, and even this she will probably share with 
the first needy person she meets. 

" ' Beaufort, S. C, June 30, 1863. 
* * * " c Last fall, when the people here became 
very much alarmed for fear of an invasion from the 
rebels, all my clothes were packed and sent with 
others to Hilton Head, and lost ; and I have never 
been able to get any trace of them since. I was 
sick at the time, and unable to look after them my- 
self. I want, among the rest, a bloomer dress, 
made of some coarse, strong material, to wear on 
expeditions. In our late expedition up the Com- 


bahee River, in coming on board the boat, I was 
carrying two ])i(/s for a poor sick woman, who had 
a child to carry, and the order " double quick " was 
given, and I started to run, stepped on my dress, it 
being rather long, and fell and tore it almost off, 
so that when I got on board the boat, there was 
hardly anything Left of it but shreds. I made up 
my mind then I would never wear a long dress on 
another expedition of the kind, but would have a 
bloomer as soon as I could get it. So please make 
this known to the ladies, if you will, for I expect to 
have use for it very soon, probably before they 
can get it to me. 

"' You have, without doubt, seen a full account of 
the expedition I refer to. Don't you think we col- 
ored people are entitled to some credit for that ex- 
ploit, under the Lead of the brave Colonel Montgom- 
ery? We weakened the rebels somewhat on the 
Combahee River, by taking and bringing away 
n hundn d and fifty-six head of their most val- 
uable live stock, known up in your region as " con- 
trabands, n and this, too, without the loss of a sin- 
gle life on our part, though we had goo 1 reason to 
believe that a number of rebels bit the dust. Of 
these seven hundred and fifty-six contrabands, 


nearly or quite all the able-bodied men have joined 
the colored regiments here. 

" ' I have now been absent two years almost, and 
have just got letters from my friends in Auburn, 
urging me to come home. My father and mother are 
old and in feeble health, and need my care and atten- 
tion. I hope the good people there will not allow 
them to suffer, and I do not believe they will. But I 
do not see how I am to leave at present the very im- 
portant work to be done here. Among other duties 
which I have, is that of looking after the hospital 
here for contrabands. Most of those coming from 


the mainland are very destitute, almost naked. I 
am trying to find places for those able to work, 
and provide for them as best I can, so as to lighten 
the burden on the Government as much as possi- 
ble, while at the same time they learn to respect 
themselves by earning their own living. 

" ' Remember me very kindly to Mrs. and her 

daughters ; also, if you will, to my Boston friends, 
Mrs. C, Miss H., and especially to Mr. and Mrs. 
George L. Stearns, to whom I am under great 
obligations for their many kindnesses. I shall 
be sure to come and see you all if I live to go 
North. If you write, direct your letter to the care 


Id the Spring of 1860, Harriet Tubman was re- 
quested by Mr. Gerrit Smith to go to Boston to 
attend a targe Anti-Slavery meeting. On her way, 

she stopped at Troy to visit a cousin, and while 
there, the colored people were one day startled 
with the intelligence that a fugitive slave, by the 

name of Charles Xalle, had hern followed by his 

master (who was his younger brother, and not 

one grain whiter than he), and that he was already 
in the hands of the officers, and Was to be taken 

back to the South. The instant Harriet heard the 
news, she started for the office of the U, 8, Com- 
missioner, scattering the tidings as die went. An 
excited crowd were gathered about the office, 
through which Harriet forced her way, ami rushed 
up stairs to the door of the room where the fugi- 
tive was detained. A wagon was already waiting 
before the door to cany <>rt* the man, but the 

crowd was even then so great, and in BUCh a Bl 

<»f excitement, that the officers did not dare to 
bring the man down. On the opposite sid^ of the 
street Btood the colored people, watching the win- 
dow where they could mv Harriet's Bun-bonnet, 

and feeling assured thai so long as she stood there, 
the fugitive was still in the office. Time passed 
on, and he did not appear. '* They've taken him 


out another way, depend upon that," said some of 
the colored people. " No," replied others, " there 
stands ' Moses ' yet, and as long as she is there, he 
is safe." Harriet, now seeing the necessity for a 
tremendous effort for his rescue, sent out some 
little boys to cry jive. The bells rang, the crowd 
increased, till the whole street was a dense mass of 
people. Again and again the officers came out to 
try and clear the stairs, and make a way to take 
their captive down; others were driven down, but 
Harriet stood her ground, her head bent down, and 
her arms folded. "Come, old woman, you must get 
out of this,'' said one of the officers ; " I must have 
the way cleared ; it' you can't get down alone, some 
one will help you." Harriet, still putting on a 
greater appearance of decrepitude, twitched away 
from him, ami kept her place. Offers were made 
to buy Charles from his master, who at first agreed 
to take twelve hundred dollars for him ; but when 
that was subscribed, he immediately raised the 
price to fifteen hundred. The crowd grew more 
excited. A gentleman raised a window and called 
out, "Two hundred dollars for his rescue, but not 
one cent to his master!" This was responded to 
by a roar of satisfaction from the crowd below. 
At length the officers appeared, and announced to 


the crowd that if they would open a lane to the 
wagon, they would promise to briny the man down 
the front way. 

The lane was opened, and the man was brought 
out — a tall, handsome, intelligent whiU man, with 
his wrists manacled together, walking between the 
U. S. Marsha] and another officer, and behind him 
his brother and his master, so like him that one 
could hardly be told from the other. The moment 
they appeared, i larriet rous< d from her Btooping | 
tare, threw up a window, and cried t<> her friends : 
"Here he comes — take 115111!" and then darted 
down tie 1 Btairs like a wild-cat. She seized our 
ler and pulled him down, another, 

tore liim away from tie* man; and keeping her 

arms about the Blave, she cried t.> her friends: 
"Drag us out ! Drag him t<> the river I Drowp 
him ! but don't l»-t 1 1 ave him ! n They p 

knocked down together, and while down she tore 
off her Bun-bonnet and tied it on the head of the 
fugitive. When he rose, only his head could 
seen, and amid the Burging mass of people the 
slave was no longer recognized, while the mac 
appeared like the slave. Again and again they 
were knocked d< Blave utterly help- 

less, with his manacled * rists at reaming with hlood. 


Harriet's outer clot lies were torn from her, and 
even her stout shoes were all pulled from her feet, 
yet she never relinquished her hold of the man, 
till she had dragged him to the river, where he was 
tumbled into a boat, Harriet following in a ferry* 
boat to the other side. But the telegraph was 
ahead of them, and as soon as they landed he was 
seized and hurried from her Bight. After a time, 
some school children came hurrying along, and to 
her anxious inquiries they answered, "He is up in 
that house, in the third story." Harriet rushed up 
to the place. Some men were attempting to make 
their way up the stairs The officers were firing 
down, and two men were lying on the stairs, who 

had been shot. Over thefcr bodies our heroine 

rushed, and with the help of Others hurst open the 
door of the room, dragged out the fugitive, whom 
Harriet carried down stairs in her arms. A gen- 
tleman who was riding by with a line horse, stop- 
ped to ask What the disturbance meant; and on 
hearing the story, his sympathies seemed to be 
thoroughly aroused ; he sprang from his wagon, 
calling out, u That is a blood-horse, drive him till 
he drops." The poor man was hurried in ; some of 
his friends jumped in after him, and drove at the 
most rapid rate to Schenectady. 


This is the story Harriet told to the writer. By- 
some persons it seemed too wonderful for belief, 
and an attempt was made to corroborate it. Rev. 
Henry Fowler, who was at the time at Saratoga, 
kindly volunteered to go to Troy and ascertain the 
facts. His report was, that he had had a long in- 
terview with Mr. Townsend, who acted during the 
trial as counsel for the slave, that he had given 
him a " rich narration," which he would write out 
the next week for this little book. But before he 
was to begin his generous labor, and while engaged 
in some kind efforts for the prisoners at Auburn, he 
was stricken down by the heat of the sun, and is 
for a loni>: time debarred from labor. 


From the Troy Whig, April 28, 1859. 

Yesterday afternoon, the streets of this city and 
West Troy were made the scenes of unexampled 
excitement. For the first time since the passage 
of the Fugitive Slave Law, an attempt was made 
here to carry its provisions into execution, and the 
result was a terrific encounter between the officers 
and the prisoners friends, the triumph of mob law, 


and the final rescue of the fugitive. Our city was 
thrown into a grand state of turmoil, and for a 
time every other topic was forgotten, to give place 
to this new excitement. People did not think last 
evening to ask who was nominated at Charleston, 
or whether the news of the Heenan and Sayers bat- 
tle had arrived — everything was merged into the 
fugitive slave case, of which it seems the end is not 

Charles Nalle, the fugitive, who was the cause 
of all this excitement, was a slave on the planta- 
tion of B. W. Hansborough, in Culpepper County, 
Virginia, till the 19th of October, 1858, when he 
made his escape, and went to live in Columbia, 
Pennsylvania. A wife and five children are resid- 
ing there now. Not long since he came to Sand- 
lake, in this county, and resided in the family of 
Mr. • Crosby until about three weeks ago. Since 
that time, he has been employed as coachman by 
Uri Gilbert, Esq., of this city. He is about thirty 
years of age, tall, quite light-complexioned, and 
good-looking. He is said to have been an excel- 
lent and faithful servant. 

At Sandlake, we understand that Nalle was of- 
ten seen by one H. F. Averill, formerly connected 
with one of the papers of this city, who commu- 


nicated with his reputed owner in Virginia, and 
gave the information that led to a knowledge of 
the whereabouts of the fugitive. Averill wrote let- 
ters for him, and thus obtained an acquaintance 
with his history. Mr. Ilansborough sent on an 
agent, Henry J. Wall, by whom the necessary pa- 
pers were got out to arrest the fugitive. 

Yesterday morning about 11 o'clock, Charles 
Nalle was sent to procure some bread for the family 
by whom he was employed. He failed to return. 
At the baker's, he was arrested by Deputy United 
States Marshal J. W, Holmes, and immediately ta- 
ken before United States Commissioner Miles 
Beach. The BonofMr. Gilbert, thinking it strange 
that he did not come back, Bent to the house of 
William Henry, on 1 tivision Street, where lie board- 
ed, and bis whereabouts was discovered. 

The examination before ( lommissioner Beach 
was quite brief. The evidence of Averill and the 
agent was taken, and the Commissioner decided to 
remand Xalle to Virginia. The necessary papers 
were made out and given to the Marshal 

By this time it was two o'clock, and the fact be- 
eran to be noised abroad that there was a fugitive 
slave in Mr. Beach's office, corner of State and 
First Streets. People in knots of ten or twelve 


collected near the entrance, looking at Nalle, who 
could be seen at an upper window. William 
Henry, a colored man, with whom Nalle boarded, 
commenced talking from the curb-stone in a loud 
voice to the crowd. He uttered such sentences as, 
" There is a fugitive slave in that office — pretty 
soon you will see him come forth. He is going to 
be taken down South, and you will have a chance 
to see him. He is to be taken to the depot, to go 
to Virginia in the first train. Keep watch of those 
stairs, and you will have a sight." A number of 
women kept shouting, crying, and by loud appeals 
excited the colored persons assembled. 

Still the crowd grew in numbers. Wagons 
halted in front of the locality, and were soon piled 
with spectators. An alarm of fire was sounded, 
and hose carriages dashed through, the ranks of 
men, women, and boys ; but they closed again, and 
kept looking with expectant eyes at the window 
where the negro was visible. Meanwhile, angry 
discussions commenced. Some persons agitated a 
rescue, and others favored law and order. Mr. 
Brockway, a lawyer, had his coat torn for express- 
ing his sentiments, and other melees kept the inter- 
est alive. 

All at once there was a wild hulloa, and every 


eye was turned up to see the legs and part of the 
body of the prisoner protruding from the second- 
story window, at which he was endeavoring to 
escape. Then arose a shout ! " Drop him ! " " Catch 
him ! " " Hurrah ! " But the attempt was a fruitless 
one, for somebody in the office pulled Nalle back 
again, amid the shouts of a hundred pair of lungs. 
The crowd at this time numbered nearly a thousand 
persons. Many of them were black, and a good 
share were of the female sex. They blocked up 
State Street from First Street to the alley, and kept 
surging to and fro. 

Martin I. Townsend, Esq., who acted as counsel 
for the fugitive, did not arrive in the Commissioner's 
office until a decision had been rendered. He im- 
mediately went before Judge Gould, of the Supreme 
Court, and procured a writ of habeas corpus in the 
usual form, returnable immediately. This was given 
Deputy Sheriff Nathaniel Upham, who at once pro- 
ceeded to Commissioner Beach's office, and served 
it on Holmes. Very injudiciously, the officers 
proceeded at once to Judge Gould's office, although 
it was evident they would have to pass through an 
excited, unreasonable crowd. As soon as the offi- 
cers and their prisoner emerged from the door, an 
old negro, who had been standing at the bottom of 


the stairs, shouted, " Here they come," and the crowd 
made a terrific rush at the party. 

From the office of Commissioner Beach, in the 
Mutual Building, to that of Judge Gould, in Con- 
gress Street, is less than two blocks, but it was made 
a regular battle-field. The moment the prisoner 
emerged from the doorway, in custody of Deputy- 
Sheriff Upham, Chief of Police Quin, Officers 
Cleveland and Holmes, the crowd made one grand 
charge, and those nearest the prisoner seized him 
violently, with the intention of pulling him away 
from the officers, but they were foiled ; and down 
First to Congress Street, and up the latter in front 
of Judge Gould's chambers, went the surging mass. 
Exactly what did go on in the crowd, it is impossi- 
ble to say, but the pulling, hauling, mauling, and 
shouting, gave evidences of frantic efforts on the 
part of the rescuers, and a stern resistance from 
the conservators of the law. In front of Judge 
Gould's office the combat was at its height. No 
stones or other missiles were used ; the battle was 
fist to fist. We believe an order was given to take 
the prisoner the other way, and there was a grand 
rush towards the West, past First and River Streets, 
as far as Dock Street. All this time there was a 
continual melee. Many of the officers were hurt — 


among them Mr. TTpham, whose object was solely 
to do his duty by taking Nalle before Judge Gould 
in accordance with the writ of habeas corpus. A 
number in the crowd were more or less hurt, and 
it is a wonder that these were not badly injured, as 
pistols were drawn and chisels used. 

The battle had raged as far as the corner of Dock 
and Congress Streets, and the victory remained with 
the rescuers at last. The officers were completely 
worn out with their exertions, and it was impossible 
to continue their hold upon him any longer. Nalle 
was at liberty. His friends rushed him down Dock 
Street to the lower ferry, where there was a skill 
lying ready to start. The fugitive was put in, the 
ferryman rowed off, and amid the shouts of hundreds 
who lined the banks of the river, Nalle was carried 
into Albany County. 

As the skiff landed in West Troy, a negro sym- 
pathizer waded up to the waist, and pulled Nalle 
out of the boat. He w r ent up the hill alone, how- 
ever, and there who should he meet but Constable 
Becker ? The latter official seeing a man with 
manacles -on, considered it his duty to arrest him. 
He did so, and took him in a wagon to the office of 
Justice Stewart, on the second floor of the corner 
building near the ferry. The Justice was absent. 


When the crowd on the Troy bank had seen 
Nalle safely landed, it was suggested that he might 
be recaptured. Then there was another rush made 
for the steam ferry-boat, which carried over about 
400 persons, and left as many more — a few of the 
latter being soused in their efforts to get on the 
boat. On landing in West Troy, there, sure enough, 
was the prisoner, locked up in a strong office, pro- 
tected by Officers Becker, Brown and Morrison, 
and the door barricaded. 

Not a moment was lost. Up stairs went a score 
or more of resolute men — the rest " piling in" pro- 
miscuously, shouting and execrating the officers. 
Soon a stone flew against the door — then another — 
and bang, bang ! went off a couple of pistols, but 
the officers who fired them took good care to aim 
pretty high. The assailants were forced to retreat 
for a moment. " They 've got pistols," said one. 
" Who cares ? " was the reply ; " they can only kill 
a dozen of us — come on." More stones and more 
pistol-shots ensued. At last the door was pulled 
open by an immense negro, and in a moment he 
was felled by a hatchet in the hands of Deputy- 
Sheriff Morrison ; but the body of the fallen man 
blocked up the door so that it could not be shut, 
and a friend of the prisoner pulled him out. Poor 


fellow ! he might well say, " Save me from my 
friends." Amid the pulling and hauling, the iron 
had cat his arms, which were bleeding profusely, 
and he could hardly walk, owing to fatigue. 
He has since arrived safely in Canada. 

Statements made by Martin I. Townsend, Esq. 
of Troy, who was counsel for the fugitive, 
Charles Nalle. 

Nalle is an octoroon ; his wife has the same in- 
fusion of Caucasian blood. She was the daughter 
of her master, and had, with her sister, been bred 
by him in his family, as his own child. When the 
father died, both of these daughters were married 
and had large families of children. Under the 
highly Christian national laws of "Old Virginny," 
these children were the slaves of their grandfather. 
The old man died, leaving a will, whereby he manu- 
mitted his daughters and their children, and pro- 
vided for the purchase of the freedom of their hus- 
bands. The manumission of the children and 
grandchildren took effect ; but the estate was insuf- 
ficient to purchase the husbands of his daughters, 
and the father of his grandchildren. The manu- 
mitted, by another Christian, " conservative," and 


" national " provision of law, were forced to leave 
the State, while the slave husbands remained in 
slavery. Nalle and his brother-in-law were allowed 
for a while to visit their families outside Virginia 
about once a year, but were at length ordered to 
provide themselves with new wives, as they would 
be allowed to visit their former ones no more. It 
was after this that Nalle and his brother-in-law 
started for the land of freedom, guided by the 
steady light of the north star. Thank God, neither 
family now need fear any earthly master or the 
bay of the blood-hound dogging their fugitive steps. 

Nalle returned to Troy with his family about 
July, 1860, and resided with them there for more 
than seven years. They are all now residents of 
the city of Washington, D. C. ISTalle and his family 
are persons of refined manners, and of the highest 
respectability. Several of his children are red- 
haired, and a stranger would discover no trace of 
African blood in their complexions or features. It 
was the head of this family whom H. F. Averill 
proposed to doom to returnless exile and life-long 

When Nalle was brought from Commissioner 
Beach's office into the street, Harriet Tubman, who 
had been standing with the excited crowd, rushed 


amongst the foremost to Nail©, and running one 
of her arms around his manacled arm, held on to 
him without ever loosening her hold through the 
more than half-hour's struggle to Judge Gould's 
office, and from Judge Gould's office to the dock, 
where Nalle's liberation was accomplished. In the 
melee, she w^as repeatedly beaten over the head 
with policemen's clubs, but she never for a moment 
released her hold, but cheered Nalle and his friends 
with her voice, and struggled with the officers un- 
til they were literally worn out with their exer- 
tions, and Nalle was separated from them. 

True, she had strong and earnest helpers in her 
struggle, some of whom had white faces as well as 
human hearts, and are now in Heaven. But she 
exposed herself to the fury of the sympathizers 
with slavery, without fear, and suffered their blows 
without flinching. Harriet crossed the river with 
the crowd, in the ferry-boat, and when the men 
who led the assault upon the door of Judge Stew- 
art's office, were stricken down, Harriet and a 
number of other colored women rushed over their 
bodies, brought Nalle out, and putting him in the 
first wagon passing, started him for the West. 

A livery team, driven by a colored man, was im- 
mediately gent on to relieve the other, and Nalle 


was seen about Troy no more until he returned a 
free man by purchase from his master. Harriet 
also disappeared, and the crowd dispersed. How 
she came to be in Troy that day, is entirely un- 
known to our citizens ; and where she hid herself 
after the rescue, is equally a mystery. But her 
struggle was in the sight of a thousand, perhaps 
of five thousand spectators. 

This woman of whom you have been reading is 
poor, and partially disabled from her injuries ; yet 
she supports cheerfully and uncomplainingly her- 
self and her old parents, and always has several 
poor children in her house, who are dependent en- 
tirely upon her exertions. At present she has three 
of these children for whom she is providing, while 
their parents are working to pay back money bor- 
rowed to bring them on. She also maintains by 
her exertions among the good people of Auburn, 
two schools of freedmen at the South, providing 
them teachers and sending them clothes and books. 
She never asks for anything for herself, but she 
does ask the charity of the public for " her people." 

For them her tears will fall, 

For them her prayers ascend ; 
To them her toils and cares be given, 

Till toils and cares will end. 

If any persons are disposed to aid her in her be- 


nevolent efforts, they may send donations to Rev. 
S. M. Hopkins, Professor in the Auburn Theologi- 
cal Seminary, who will make such disposition of 
the funds sent as may be designated by the donors. 



A few circumstances having come out in conver- 
sation with Harriet, they are added here, as they 
may be of interest to the reader. 

On asking Harriet particularly as to the age of 
her mother, she answered, " Well, I'll tell you, Mis- 
sis. Twenty-three years ago, in Maryland, I paid 
a lawyer $5 to look up the will of my mother's 
first master. He looked back sixty years, and said 
it was time to give up. I told him to go back 
furder. He went back sixty-five years, and there 
he found the will — giving the girl Ritty to his 
grand-daughter (Mary Patterson), to serve her 
and her offspring till she was forty-five years of age. 
This grand-daughter died soon after, unmarried ; 
and as there was no provision for Ritty, in case of 
her death, she was actually emancipated at that 
time. • But no one informed her of the fact, and she 
and her dear children remained in bondage till 
emancipated by the courage and determination of 


this heroic daughter and sister. The old woman 
must then, it seems, be ninety-eight years of age, 
and the old man has probably numbered as many 
years. And yet these old people, living out beyond 
the toll-gate, on the South Street road, Auburn, 
come in every Sunday — more than a mile — to the 
Central Church. To be sure, deep slumbers settle 
down upon them as soon as they are seated, which 
continue undisturbed till the congregation is dis- 
missed ; but they have done their best, and who can 
doubt that they receive a blessing. Immediately 
after this they go to class-meeting at the Methodist 
Church. Then they wait for a third service, and 
after that start out home again. 

On asking Harriet where they got anything to 
eat on Sunday, she said, in her quiet way, "Oh! 
de ole folks nebber eats any ting on Sunday, Missis ! 
We nebber has no food to get for dem on Sunday. 
Dey always fasts ; and dey nebber eats anyting on 
Fridays. Good Friday, an' five Fridays hand 
gwine from Good Friday, my fader nebber eats or 
drinks, all day — fasting for de five bleeding wounds 
ob Jesus. All the oder Fridays ob de year he neb- 
ber eats till de sun goes down; den he takes a 
little tea an' a piece ob bread." "But is he a 
Roman Catholic, Harriet ? " " Oh no, Misses ; he 


does it for conscience ; we was taught to do so 
down South. He says if he denies himself for the 
sufferings of his Lord an' Master, Jesus will sustain 

It has been mentioned that Harriet never asks 
anything for herself, but whenever her people 
were in trouble, or she felt impelled to go South 
to guide to freedom friend or brother, or father 
and mother, if she had not time to work for the 
money, she was persistent till she got it from 
somebody. When she received one of her inti- 
mations that the old people were in trouble, and 
it was time for her to go to them, she asked the 
Lord where she should go for the money. She 
was in some way, as she supposed, directed to the 
office of a certain gentleman in New York. When 
she left the house of her friends to go there, she 

said, " I'm gwine to Mr. 's office, an' I ain't 

gwine to lebe there, an' I ain't gwine to eat or 
drink till I git enough money to take me down 
after the ole people." 

She went into this gentleman's office. 

" What do you want, Harriet ? " was the first 

" I want some money, sir." 

" You do ? How much do you want ? " 


" I want twenty dollars, sir." 

" Twenty dollars ? Who told you to come here 
for twenty dollars ? " 

" De Lord tole me, sir." 

" Well, I guess the Lord's mistaken this time." 

"I guess he isn't, sir. Anyhow I'm gwine to 
sit here till I git it." 

So she sat down and went to sleep. All the 
morning and all the afternoon she sat there still, 
sleeping and rousing up — sometimes finding the 
office full of gentlemen — sometimes finding herself 
alone. Many fugitives were passing through New 
York at that time, and those who came in sup- 
posed that she was one of them, tired out and 
resting. Sometimes she would be roused up with 
the words, " Come, Harriet, you had better go. 
There's no money for you here." " No, sir. I'm 
not gwine till I git my twenty dollars." 

She does riot know all that happened, for deep 
sleep fell upon her; but probably her story was 
whispered about, and she roused at last to find 
herself the happy possessor of sixty dollars, which 
had been raised among those who came into the 
office. She went on her way rejoicing, to bring her 
old parents from the land of bondage. She found 
that her father was to be tried the next Monday, 


for helping off slaves ; so, as she says, she " re- 
moved his trial to a higher court," and hurried 
him off to Canada. One more little incident, 
which, it is hoped, may not be offensive to the 
young lady to whom it alludes, may be mentioned 
here, showing Harriet's extreme delicacy in asking 
anything for herself. Last winter ('67 and '68), 
as we all know, the snow was very deep for 
months, and Harriet and the old people were com- 
pletely snowed-in in their little home. The old 
man was laid up with rheumatism, and Harriet 
could not leave home for a long time to j>rocure 
supplies of corn, if she could have made her way 
into the city. At length, stern necessity com- 
pelled her to plunge through the drifts to the 
city, and she appeared at the house of one of her 
firm and fast friends, and was directed to the room 
of one of the young ladies. She began to walk up 
and down, as she always does when in trouble. 
At length she said, "Miss Annie?" "What, 
Harriet ? " A long pause ; then again, " Miss 
Annie?" "Well, what is it, Harriet?" This 
was repeated four times, when the young lady, 
looking up, saw her eyes filled with tears. She 
then insisted on knowing what she wanted. And 
with a great effort, she said, " Miss Annie, could 


you lend me a quarter till Monday? I never 
asked it before." Kind friends immediately sup- 
plied all the wants of the family, but on Monday 
Harriet appeared with the quarter she had bor- 

But though so timid for herself, she is bold 
enough when the wants of her race are concerned. 
Even now. while friends are trying to raise the 
means to publish this little book for her, she is 
going around with the greatest zeal and interest 
to raise a subscription for her Freed men's Fair. 
She called on Hon. Wm. H. Seward, the other 
day, for a subscription to this object. He said, 
" Harriet, you have worked for others long enough. 
It is time you should think of yourself. If you 
ask for a donation for yourself ) I will give it to 
you ; but I will not help you to rob yourself for 

Harriet's charity for all the human race is un- 
bounded. It embraces even the slaveholder — it 
sympathizes even with Jeff. Davis, and rejoices at 
his departure to other lands, with some prospect 
of peace for the future. She says, " I tink dar's 
many a slaveholder '11 git to Heaven. Dey don't 
know no better. Dey acts up to de light dey hab. 
You take dat sweet little child (pointing to a 



lonely baby) — 'pears more like an angel dan any- 
thing else — take her down dere, let her nebber 
know nothing 'bout niggers but they was made 
to be whipped, an' she '11 grow up to use the whip 
on 'em jus' like de rest. No, Missus, its because 
dey don't know no better." May God give the 
people to whom the story of this woman shall 
come, a like charity, so that through their kind- 
ness the last days of her stormy and troubled life 
may be calm and peaceful. 


The subject of the preceding memoir appears to 
have retained all her life a feeling recollection of 
the effects of the whip in the hands of her youth- 
ful mistress. Considering the vigor and frequency 
of the application, this is not strange. Infantile 
cuffs and thwacks, more or less, pass into oblivion ; 
but a flogging with a raw-hide is not easily forgot- 
ten. A slave's experience of the whip, however, 
was not confined to his or to her early days. A 
slave race must be controlled by fear and pain; 
and the discipline, it was naturally thought, could 
not begin too early. From childhood to old age 
they were liable to stripes, for any reason or for no 
reason. If the slave was guilty of no fault, he might 
be whipped, as appears from the preceding narra- 
tive, merely to impress him with a salutary sense 
of the master's right and disposition to whip. 

A Northern man, born and bred under the influ- 
ences of freedom and the protection of law% and 


made acquainted with slavery in its old palmy days, 
can never forget his sensations at his first sight of 
a slave-whipping. The utmost he has ever seen 
in the way of corporal punishment has been the 
switching of some obstreperous child by competent 
authority ; a discipline administered with prudence 
and moderation ; drawing no blood and leaving no 
scar. He now sees an adult person stripped to the 
skin, his arms tied at their utmost stretch above 
his head, or across some object which binds him in- 
to a posture the best adapted to feel the full force 
of each blow. The instrument of suffering is not a 
birch twig or a ferule, but a twisted raw-hide, or 
heavy " black snake;" either of them highly ef- 
fective weapons in the hands of a stout executioner. 
Our Northern novice stands horror-stricken and 
paralyzed for a moment ; but at the second or third 
blow, and the piteous scream of Oh Lord! Massa ! 
which follows, he digs his fingers into his ears, and 
rushes to the furthest corner of his tent or dwelling, 
to escape the scene. Even if he could have en- 
dured the sight and sound a while longer, he dared 
not. The horror in his face, and perhaps the irre- 
pressible word or act of interference was too sure 
to bring upon himself the vengeance due to a 
« d— d Abolitionist." The little knot of Southern 


habituls look on with critical inspection, squirting 
tobacco-juice, with their hands in their pockets. 

If the subject is a woman, the interest rises 
higher, and the crowd would be greater. There is 
a refinement of cruelty in the whipping of a woman 
which used to stimulate agreeably the dull sensi- 
bilities of a Southern mob. A dish of torture had 
to be peppered very high to please the palates of 
those epicures in brutality. The helplessness and 
terror of the victim, the exposure of her person, the 
opportunity for coarse jests at her expense, all com- 
bined to make it a scene of rare enjoyment. How 
the " chivalric" mind can endure the loss of such 
gratifications it is difficult to conceive. The Ro- 
mans were weaned from crucifixions and gladiato- 
rial combats very gradually. The process of ame- 
liorating criminal law and humanizing public senti- 
ment went on for more than two centuries. It was 
full four hundred years after the epoch of our re- 
demption when the monk Telemachus threw him- 
self between the hired swordsmen, whom a Christian 
audience was applauding, and laid down his own 
life to wind up the spectacle. But the bloody 
morsel has been snatched from the mouths of the 
" chivalry" at one clutch. No wonder their mor- 
tification vents itself in weeping and wailing, and 


knashing of teeth, and in such miscellaneous atroci- 
ties as their " Ku-Klux-Klans" can venture to in- 
flict on helpless freedmen and radicals.* 

A recent Southern paper (the Virginia Adver- 
tiser) finds a providential provision for the enslave- 
ment of the negro race in the thickness of their 
skulls, enabling them to bear without injury the 
blows inflicted in sudden rage by their masters ; 
a suggestive confession, by the way, of the influence 
of slavery on the tempers of the slaveholders. 
The whole race must be prepared, it seems, for 
blows on the head with whatever weapon came to 
hand ! But admitting the thickness of the skulls, 
it appears from an incident in the preceding pages, 
as well as from other known instances, that the 
inventive genius of the slave-whipping chivalry 
contrived to baffle the humane designs of Provi- 
dence — a negro skull well padded with wool might 
bear without injury the blow of a boot-jack or a 
hammer, and yet prove insufficient to resist the 
impact of a musket-ball or a ten-pound weight. 

* It is curiously illustrative of the mixed childishness and ferocity 
which characterizes the Southern civilization, that this secret associa- 
tion (if ruffians, organized to terrorize the loyal South, styles itself by 
an absurd, mis-spelled name, and goes about on its nightly work of 
murder in harlequin costume, with one of its leaders acting the part of 
ghost, to frighten the superstitious blacks. Some more courageous 
freedman occasionally makes a bona fide ghost of this masquerade. 


It is of no avail to plate a vessel with six inches of 
iron, if she is to be pounded with bolts that can 
mash an eight-inch armor. Apparently, Divine 
Providence stopped short of the necessary security 
for the predestined slave race. It should have ar- 
ranged for a progressive thickening of the negro 
cranium to meet the increase of violence on the 
part of the master ; until at length slavery might 
be encountered with a difficulty like that which 
besets naval gunnery, viz., what would be the result 
if an infrangible African skull should be beaten by 
an irresistable Caucasian club ? 

But even this Virginia laudator temporis acti, 
this melancholy mourner at the tomb of defunct 
slavery, does not allege any such Providential thick- 
ening of the negro cuticle as to amount to a satis- 
factory anaesthesis against whipping. It has never 
been proven that a Virginia paddle or a Georgia 
raw-hide well applied did not make the blood spirt 
as freely through a black skin as through a white 
one ; nor has any Southern savant of the Nott and 
Gliddon school shown that there was not the same 
relative delicacy of organization in the slave woman 
as in the free. A black woman was, relatively to 
the black man, the more delicate subject for the 
whip ; something more sensitive to the shame of 


stripping, more liable to terror, and of rather softer 
fiber ; so that the lash went deeper both into soul 
and sense than in the case of her sable brother. 

And this fact made the black woman a very 
suitable subject for the whip in the hands of the 
Southern lady. To succeed in slave-whipping as 
in any other fine art, the Horatian canon must be 
regarded, which requires us to take a subject 
suited to our strength. It would have been unrea- 
sonable, in ordinary cases, to expect a "dark-eyed 
daughter of the South " to flog handsomely a stal- 
wart negro man ; she sometimes did it, after he had 
been well tied up. But the slave girl was exactly 
suited to her flagellating capacities. A good many 
women, North as well as South, manifest a tendency 
to become tyrants in their own households, and 
love to bully their servants. But this is an evil of a 
mitigated nature in Northern society. The stupid- 
est " help " in the kitchen knows she is safe from 
any other lash than her mistress' tongue, and is 
commonly an adept at the business of answering 
back again. 

But the Southern mistress was a domestic devil 
with horns and claws ; selfish, insolent, accustomed 
to be waited on for everything. She grew up with 
the instinct of tyranny — to punish violently the 


least neglect or disobedience in her servants. The 
variable -temper of girlhood, not ugly unless 
thwarted, became in the "Southern matron" a 
chronic fury. She was her own " overseer," and, 
like that out-door functionary, had her own scepter, 
which she did not bear in vain. The raw-hide lay 
upon the shelf within easy reach, and her arm was 
vigorous with exercise. The breaking of a plate, 
the spilling of a cup, the misplacing of a pin in her 
dress, or any other misadventure in the chapter of 
accidents, was promptly illustrated with numerous 
cuts. The lash well laid on the shoulders of a 
black fernme-de-chambre, or screaming child, was an 
agreeable titillation of the nervous sensibilities of 
the languid Creole ; a headache, or a heartache, 
transferred itself through the medium of the raw- 
hide to the back of Phillis or Araminta. They no 
doubt whipped sometimes, like Mr. Squeers, for the 
mere fun of the thing. It is aii exquisite pleasure 
to a cowardly nature to have some creature to tor- 
ment ; and there is this nemesis about cruelty that 
it engenders an appetite which, like that for alcoholic 
stimulents, for ever demands increased indulgence. 
It was the vindictive woman's nature in the 
South that protracted and gave added ferocity to 
the rebellion. These woman-whipping wives and 


mothers it was who hounded on the masculine 
chivalry to the work of exterminating the " accursed 
Yankees," and thus made their own punishment so 
much sorer than it need have been. 

The mention of these amiable Southern charac- 
teristics cannot fail to recall that highly suggestive 
scene of the Malebolge, with the illustration of Gus- 
tave Dore, in which the tempters and destroyers of 
women are seen scourged with whips, in the hands 
of demons ; especially when we remember that the 
whipping of slave women to make them consent to 
their own dishonor, was one of the usages of the pa- 
triarchal chivalry. There is not a scene in which 
the imao;inino;s of Dante have been better seconded 
by the pencil of the great French artist : the flying 
wretches hurrying in opposite directions, as the 
crowds in the Jubilee year trampled each oiher, go- 
ing and returning across the St. Angelo Bridge ; 
among them the bat-winged fiends with whips, 
lashing right and left ! In the throng are female 
figures : women who in life tortured and corrupted 
other women. What terror in face an attitude ! 
How desperately they grapple with the rocks to lift 
themselves out of reach of the scourge ! And these 
two demons in the foreground ! What an absolute 
idealization of muscular ferocity ! Every sinewy 


line in their cantoui displays the force of a fallen 
demi-god; their very tails curl with delight in 
their ministry of vengeance. 

Ahi ; come Tacen levar le berze, 
Alle prime percosse, e gia nessuno, 
Le becond aspettava ne le terze I 

Ah ! how they make them skip ! There is Le- 
gree and Tom Gordon, and Madame de Schlangen- 
bad, from Louisiana, and Mrs. Crawley (nee Sharp) 
from South Carolina, squirming under the torture ! 
A very instructive, if not agreeable exhibition ! 

But this fury in celestial Southern bosoms was 
merely institutional. Dip the gentlest nature into 
the element of irresponsible power, and it becomes 
in time covered over with a foul incrustation of 
cruelty. Those beastly Roman ladies of Juvenal's 
time, who could order a slave woman to be whipped 
to death without condescending to give any other 
reason than their sic volo, sic jubeo, were not natu- 
rally worse than others. Take any Roman or 
Southern girl of ten years of age, put a whip in her 
hands, and a helpless slave child at her mercy ; let 
her see nothing but brutality to inferiors all around 
her, and by the time she is ready to be married, 
she can hold up her thumb to the standing gladia- 
tor in the arena, or beg her lover to bring her back 


from Bull Run a rins; from the bones of some Yan 
kee soldier. It is a publicly known private fact, 
illustrative of the influence of slavery on the fe- 
male character, that when a certain Northern cler- 
gyman applied to her father for the hand of a cele- 
brated Maryland heiress, the reply was, " You are 
quite welcome to her ! but I think it only fair to 
tell you that if I were going to storm hell, I should 
put her in the advance." 

There is every reason to hope, therefore, that the 
Southern character, both male and female, will be- 
come gradually ameliorated by the changed condi- 
tion under which it will hereafter be formed. It is 
a common error, one in which the Southern people 
themselves share, that there is something in their 
climate to nurse and to justify their "high spirit," 
anglice their quarrelsomeness and brutality of tem- 
per. It is very pleasant to lay off upon Nature or 
Providence what belongs only to will or institu- 
tions. A man indulges in violent passions with 
little restraint or remorse, so long as he can per- 
suade himself he is merely what certain positive 
natural laws make him. What an opiate for a con- 
science defiled with lust and blood, to think that 
this is only natural to the " sunny South." But in 
fact, the people of warm, temperate, and tropical 


regions are most commonly gentle of mood ; the 
climate acts as an anodyne, and soothes them into 
a peaceful equilibrium of the passions. The ne- 
groes of the Southern States are not passionate or 
vindictive — well for their late masters and present 
persecutors that they are not ! What they may be- 
come from the treatment they are experiencing 
from those preternatural and predestinated fools, is 
another question. 

The only reason the " chivalry " are bad-tem- 
pered and quarrelsome, is found in that despotism 
in which they have been nursed, and which associ- 
ates the idea of personal dignity with an instant re- 
sort to violence at any contradiction. But for sla- 
very, the people of Mississippi would have been no 
more addicted to street fights, dueling, midnight 
assassinations, etc., than the people of Massachu- 
setts. That the former have any advantage in re- 
spect to courage, has been sufficiently disproved by 
the rebellion. Whether the ex-Confederate ladies 
may or may not be able to " fire the Southern 
heart" for another attempt to overthrow the Gov- 
ernment, it will at least never be done under 
the persuasion that one Southerner is equal to 
five or any other number above unity, of Yankees. 

The traditions of slavery, indeed, will remain to 


keep alive among the late slaveholding caste, the 
insolent and unchristian temper on which they have 
prided themselves. But having no more helpless 
dependants to storm at and abuse, their valor will 
needs submit to gradual modifications. Some de- 
gree of self-government will become a necessity. 
It may require several generations ; but institutions 
ceasing to corrupt them, the loss of wealth, the ne- 
cessity of work and a new Gospel of peace, better 
than their old slaveholding Christianity, will grad- 
ually educate them into a law-abiding, orderly, and 
virtuous people. 

The Southern woman will of course share early 
in this beneficent change — no longer perverted into 
a she-devil by the possession of unrestrained power, 
and paying just wages to servants, who, if not 
suited with their work, can leave without having 
to run off; her gentler virtues will have a chance 
to assert themselves. Her striking qualities will 
subside into a charming vivacity of temper. She 
will become a gracious and pious mater-familias ; 
she will perhaps in time learn to apply to her own 
children a portion of that discipline of which her 
slaves enjoyed a monopoly. In short, there neither 
is nor ever was any reason, slavery excepted, why 
the Southern whites should not possess a character 


for industry, peacefulness, and religion, equal to 
that of the rural districts of New York and New 

Thank God that we have lived to see such awful 
barbarisms extinct ! In fifty years the last worn an- 
whipper at the South will be as dead as Cleopa- 
tra ; as dead as the pre-Adamite brute organiza- 
tions. History will be ashamed to record their do- 
ings. The fictions in which they are enbalmed 
will be lost in the better coming era of morals and 
letters. By the time the South has been overflow- 
ed and regenerated by a beneficent inundation of 
Northern "carpet-baggers," with Yankee capital 
and enterprise, it will be forgotten that a race ca- 
pable of the crimes referred to in the preceding 
story, ever existed. 




Gerrit Smith,.... Peterboro, N. Y., $25 00 

"Wendell Phillips, Boston, Mass., 25 00 

J. S. Seymour, Auburn, ST. Y., 

D.M.Osborne, " 


Wm. H. Seward, Jr., " 

J.N. Knapp, 

Rufus Sargent, " 

H. Ivison, New York. 

25 00 

25 00 

25 00 

25 00 

25 00 

25 00 

25 00 

Timothy L. Barker^ San Francisco, Cal., 20 00 

Wm. G. Wise, Auburn, N. Y.,. 

G. I. Letchworth, 

S. L. Bradley, 

I. F. Terrill 

Abijah Fitch, 

T. M. Pomeroy, M. C, 

F. L. Griswold, 

Cyrenus Wheeler, 

John Chedell, 

David Wright, 

Jo iah Barber, 

Geo. E. Barber, 

S. Willard, M. D., . . . ! 

10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 
10 CO 
10 00 
10 00 
10 00 



Richard Steel, Auburn, N. Y., $5 00 

C. H. Merriman, 

J. Lewis Grant, 

A. H. Goss, 

Christopher Morgan, 

J. M. Hurd, 

W. J. Sutton, 

War. A. Kirby, 

Th^s. McCrea, 

J. N. Starin, 


5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00 
5 00